The Real News of the Month

September 2005
Volume 12, Number 9

Editor: Joe Sobran
Publisher: Fran Griffin (Griffin Communications)
Managing Editor: Ronald N. Neff
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  -> The Word No Liberal Knows
  -> After the Flood (plus electronic Exclusives)
  -> Sorry, Wrong Numbers
  -> Huck and His Conscience
Nuggets (plus electronic Exclusives)
"Reactionary Utopian" Columns Reprinted in This Issue


The Word No Liberal Knows
(page 1)

     Given its lead time, this journal generally avoids 
weather reports, but I can't help noticing that, if the 
mainstream news media are to be trusted, the Gulf Coast 
has had difficulties with the elements of late. Allowing 
for some exaggeration, verging on sensationalism, let us 
provisionally concede these reports a core of truth.

     Liberals, until now frustrated in their desire to 
discredit President Bush with the American public, have 
pounced on the chance to blame him for the alleged 
disaster in New Orleans. They haven't actually accused 
him of causing Hurricane Katrina, but they charge him 
with having failed to prepare for her, with responding 
inadequately, and with indifference to the plight of her 
victims, especially the poor black ones.

     Now I'd be happy to see Bush impeached, but not for 
this. He has plenty of other things to answer for, so 
many I've lost count. He has sworn to uphold the U.S. 
Constitution twice now, and he hardly seems to grasp what 
this entails; but I can't find any clause in my copy of 
the document assigning to the executive, or to any branch 
of the Federal Government, responsibility for the 

     Not that that's going to stop liberals, who want 
government at every level to take responsibility (with 
appropriate power) for everything, from global warming to 
individual health. People may laugh or cringe when it 
begins to wage war on obesity, but why not? It's a 
perfectly logical extension of what the Superstate is 
already doing.

     Liberals don't read Aristotle, so they never ask 
themselves whether there is an optimum degree of 
government power, a Golden Mean beyond which it must not 
go. The word no liberal uses is "enough." There is no 
such thing as too much government. There is no point at 
which, say, Ted Kennedy will ever sigh with satisfaction 
and say, "Well, we've made it. We've finally reached our 
goal. At long last we have all the government we need, 
and we don't need any more. Even one more law or 
regulation, in fact, might be excessive. We are 
approaching the bursting point." Not that liberals don't 
oppose some laws -- they certainly do, but never on 
grounds of excess.

     In the Aristotelian spirit, the conservative 
philosopher Michael Oakeshott calls governing "a specific 
and limited activity"; that is, limited =because= it is 
specific. Such talk is alien to the idiom of liberalism, 
with its boundless faith in power, its flamboyantly 
reckless idealism, its aversion to definition. Those who 
resist the expansion of the state are said to "oppose 
change," to "lack compassion," to be "mean-spirited." 
It's all so simple. The liberal coin has no obverse. On 
all occasions, at every contingency or opportunity, state 
power must grow.

     That's the real trouble with Bush: he's a liberal 
too. Despite his abrupt and anomalous conservative 
gestures (whose meaning is, as he might say, 
misoverestimated), he buys the major premise: state power 
must grow.

     When liberalism results in predictable harms -- 
social chaos, cultural decay, waste, inflation, colossal 
self-compounding public debt -- the only remedy is more 
liberalism. No se habla el aristotelianismo aqui.

The Moving Picture
(page 2)

After the Flood

     As the Forces of Evil (alias Progress) were trying 
to build some sort of case against confirming John 
Roberts to the U.S. Supreme Court, Chief Justice William 
Rehnquist's long career ended forever. He'd done what he 
could, over more than three decades, to curb the Court's 
liberalism, albeit in a piecemeal fashion, during which 
period Roberts had served as one of his clerks. President 
Bush took the unprecedented (I think) step of promoting 
Roberts's nomination from associate to chief justice. The 
plot thickens.

*          *          *

     And with another vacancy to be filled, the Court's 
new session begins with Sandra Day O'Connor temporarily 
returning from what we'd hoped was her retirement. Well, 
the libs have been demanding another O'Connor, and now 
they've got the original Swingin' Sandy back, at least 
for a spell. Let's hope all those glowing obituaries 
haven't gone to her head.

*          *          *

     New Orleans continues to wash up toxic notions. 
George Will draws the moral that it proves the 
"conservative" case for government, viz., that "the first 
business of government, on which =everything= depends, is 
security." (His emphasis.) Oddly, Will quotes Hobbes 
rather than Burke to make his point. And he also says 
Katrina makes the "liberal" case for government, viz., 
"the indispensability, and dignity, of the public 
sector." Would that include the city's notoriously 
crooked politicians?

*          *          *

     THE NEW YORK TIMES rushed to the defense of -- 
surprise, surprise! -- the mostly poor, black looters. In 
such dire circumstances, looting shouldn't be a crime, 
should it? Well, nobody is likely to be shot, much less 
prosecuted, for taking food. But televisions? (With no 
place to plug them in, the looters should be shot for 
stupidity.) Such defenders are only helping confirm the 
racial stereotypes they're forever deploring. Why do 
white liberals love black criminals so much? The sort of 
black who was once called "a credit to his race" can 
expect the TIMES to ignore him; the sort once said to 
"give the whole group a bad name" gets the front page.

*          *          *

     Katrina has put Bush in a strange position. She has 
almost totally -- and, it would seem, permanently -- 
eclipsed the Iraq war on which he has staked his hopes 
for a lasting legacy. He will be remembered chiefly for 
being the guy in the White House when two terrible 
disasters struck, both finding him surprised and 
unprepared. The 9/11 attacks and Katrina occurred almost 
exactly four years apart, one early in his first term, 
the other early in his second. And just as the one 
allowed him to create the illusion of mastery for a time, 
the second has exposed him as helpless in the face of 

*          *          *

     THE WEEKLY STANDARD is already -- is it possible? -- 
ten years old! The neocon mag is saluted by Peter Carlson 
of the WASHINGTON POST for its "excellent" writing, and 
for being "America's funniest right-wing magazine, 
although there is not, alas, much competition for that 
title." So much for Bill Buckley's NATIONAL REVIEW, which 
turns 50 this year, if anybody cares.

Exclusive to electronic media:

     Reviewing a biography of the great literary critic 
Edmund Wilson, Jonathan Yardley of the POST cites his 
many faults. Wilson was "arrogant, demanding, 
self-centered, priapic, alcoholic, abusive." He had a 
fearful temper, cheated on all four of his wives, may 
also have beaten them, turned venomously on his friends, 
mooched off his mother, and -- crowning infamy! -- 
"declined to pay taxes for many years until the IRS 
finally caught up with him." Just when I was beginning to 
like him.

Sorry, Wrong Numbers
(pages 3-4)

     Major league baseball is widely assumed to exemplify 
economic determinism. Big money buys big talent, and the 
Yankees and Braves win most of the pennants; George 
Steinbrenner routinely shells out enough millions to get 
players like Gary Sheffield, Alex Rodriguez, and Randy 
Johnson. In short, money wins. An unedifying moral, 
except maybe to Steinbrenner and Ted Turner.

     But in recent years there has been a notable 
exception: the penurious Oakland A's have been winning 
with front-office brains instead of stars on the field.

     Unlike chess, a stronghold for kooky geniuses, 
baseball has inspired little creative thinking (though a 
lot of literature, most of it pretty bad). True, 
intellectuals love it ostentatiously, but it typically 
finds its fullest expression in cliches and statistics 
that don't leave much room for irony. But suddenly the 
stolid game is changing. Thinking has invaded baseball. 
There have even been nuance sightings in this unlikely 

     Baseball isn't a total stranger to high 
intelligence, however. From time to time, players, 
scientists, and ordinary fans have proposed new 
approaches to its basic situations. You might not think a 
game based on a simple skill -- hitting a sphere with a 
cylinder -- would offer much room for either subtlety or 
error, but it does.

     Between his retirement and his decapitation, Ted 
(.406) Williams wrote an excellent little book called THE 
SCIENCE OF HITTING. And it really did reduce hitting a 
baseball to a science. For instance, he calculated that a 
batter who swings at pitches even a single inch outside 
the strike zone dramatically enlarges the area of the 
pitcher's target by a precisely quantifiable ratio. Do 
the math.

     Around the same time, a Johns Hopkins professor 
named Earnshaw Cook used statistics to show the 
inefficiency of some hallowed baseball tactics. The stats 
showed, for example, that the sacrifice bunt was a bad 
deal: the out wasn't justified by the chance of gaining a 
run. Cook also argued that managers should plan on using 
three pitchers per game, so that they would bat as seldom 
as possible (this was before the designated hitter). He 
reckoned that a pitcher was usually at his best for no 
more than about five innings anyway.

     In 1977 Bill James made his debut in print (or 
mimeograph, anyway) with an iconoclastic approach to the 
stats that eventually led to a practical revolution in 
the game on the field. The standard stats were 
misleading, he argued. Batting averages were poor 
measures of a hitter's offensive value, because they gave 
no credit for drawing walks; it was as if the base on 
balls were nothing more than a pitcher's mistake. 
Fielding averages were perverse, since they gave 
excessive importance to errors; after all, a shortstop 
quick enough to reach balls slower shortstops would miss 
entirely would be penalized by an "average" that gave him 
no credit for range. James may have been the first fan to 
find irony in stats after all. Michael Lewis, a popular 
financial writer sums up his central insight: "The many 
little injustices and misunderstandings embedded in the 
game's records spawned exotic inefficiencies. Baseball 
strategies were often wrongheaded and baseball players 
were systematically misunderstood." Faulty statistics 
finally produced, from James's perspective, "the greatest 
accounting scandal in professional sports."

     Such theorizing about baseball is no longer just the 
preoccupation of nerds. In his bestseller MONEYBALL: THE 
ART OF WINNING AN UNFAIR GAME (Norton), Lewis tells the 
gripping story of how the Oakland A's have confounded 
financial determinism, beating far richer teams by 
putting radical ideas to work. Besides theoretical acumen 
of a high order, Lewis narrates this strange eventful 
history with delicious anecdotes, character studies, and 
hilarity. He tells it as a business story, in which the 
avatars of financial determinism come up against a man 
who knows how to exploit "market inefficiencies."

     Oakland's young general manager Billy Beane was 
quick to see the implications of Bill James's studies. 
They led to a whole new way of evaluating players. A team 
didn't need big (and expensive) stars; it needed players 
with skills that were underrated, skills the traditional 
stats didn't usually capture.

     Beane looked for guys who could do simple things 
like patiently drawing walks. Walks meant runs; and a 
lineup that took a lot of pitches would not only score a 
lot of runs, it would also wear down opposing pitchers. 
Throwing a hundred pitches in two hours is, after all, 
hard work. Beane would eagerly trade away big-name 
players (with big contracts) to get unknown players 
cheap. He saw promise where nobody else did, because he 
realized that the more spectacular players were overrated 
-- and overpaid. He packed the A's with young players who 
were stunned to discover that any major league team would 
want them.

     Even the team's owners were wary. They 
understandably didn't want to bet too much money on 
bizarre theories contradicting everything they "knew." 
Only Beane's assistant Paul DePodesta grasped what he was 
up to and fully supported him.

     A soft-spoken eccentric named Chad Bradford had been 
a mediocre pitcher since high school in Mississippi, 
where his own coach had seen no particular talent in him; 
Beane grabbed him when he'd nearly given up on a baseball 
career, and he became a star with an 84-mile-an-hour 
fastball. His submarine delivery looked odd, but just try 
hitting a home run off it. If you really connected with 
his fastball -- if that's the word for the pitiful thing 
-- you might get a hard groundout. But as the great lefty 
Warren Spahn used to say, "Hitting is timing. Pitching is 
upsetting timing." After Bradford set up hitters with his 
69-mile-an-hour changeup, he could confound them with 
that 84-mile-an-hour blazer.

     Beane put a premium on temperament. He learned about 
that the hard way. He had been a young player of 
astonishing talent; in college and the minor leagues, he 
already looked destined for the Hall of Fame. He awed 
scouts and coaches with his hitting, power, fielding, 
even pitching; you name it, he could do it incomparably. 
Even in the majors, he had his moments, as when he went 
5 for 5 against the Yankees' great lefty Ron Guidry, one 
of his hits a home run. But he went hitless in his next 
two games and was removed from the lineup; soon he was 
back in the minors. Every failure made him play worse; he 
pressed too hard, and barely hit .200 at any level, until 
he quit in frustration. If ever a player showed 
"promise," it was Billy Beane. But he was outperformed by 
mediocre teammates who could shrug off failure with their 
confidence in themselves unimpaired. If he'd been able to 
do that, he'd be in Cooperstown today. But despite his 
talent and maybe because of his intensity, he fell apart.

     His own experience taught Beane that promise meant 
nothing; performance was everything. And he learned to 
define performance in unconventional ways. He could 
glance at a kid's statistics and pick up things the 
scouts who'd studied him up close for months hadn't 
noticed, because they hadn't known what to look for. 
Often, Lewis reports, the scouts would dismiss a prospect 
because he didn't "look like" a ballplayer -- too short, 
too slight, too fat. Beane might grab him anyway, if the 
numbers showed he got on base. Beane became a connoisseur 
of seeming mediocrities.

     Ted Williams, by the way, had never despised the 
base on balls. In a war-shortened career he'd drawn 
almost as many walks as Babe Ruth, and his lifetime 
on-base average remains the highest in baseball history. 
He wouldn't chase a bad pitch on the chance of hitting a 
homer (though he was also a great power hitter). Beane, 
by contrast, had badly hurt his career by swinging at bad 
pitches and had drawn few walks.

     But Bean's counterintuitive methods of assessing 
players -- the less they resemble him, the better he 
seems to like them -- are still winning. Just this year, 
the A's were slumping badly; then Beane traded away two 
All-Star pitchers, and the team shot to the top of the 
standings. Organized baseball now understands that 
on-base and slugging averages are better measures of 
offensive ability than batting averages; but otherwise it 
hasn't caught up with Beane, whom many front-office 
honchos still regard as a flake and a fluke.

     Still, he has succeeded often enough that other 
general managers have learned to be very cautious when 
Beane takes an interest in one of their players, 
especially players of no apparent distinction. What's he 
seeing in these guys that everyone else is missing? Lewis 
has a dizzying, funny chapter on Beane's frenetic but 
cunning approach to trading, which he usually does by 
cell phone.

     Lewis never even mentions the biggest scandal in 
baseball today: steroid use. But he might have. That 
problem has resulted from baseball's obsession with 
power, the 500-foot home run and the 100-mile-an-hour 
fastball. These things attract fans, and therefore 
tycoons offering fat contracts, because you don't have to 
savor the fine points of the game to appreciate a moon 
shot. Admittedly the blood doesn't thrill much to see a 
skinny second baseman lay off bad pitches and trot to 
first base, and it's hardly more exciting to see the 
shortstop single him home for what will later prove the 
winning run.

     MONEYBALL could easily have been written as a 
sententious treatise on the virtues of (yawn) delayed 
gratification. Instead, Lewis tells the tale of how Billy 
Beane became the tortoise who whipped all the hares.

Huck and His Conscience
(pages 5-6)

     I remember my fourth-grade teacher pretty well, 
except for her name. I think it started with an M. Miss 
Moran? That sounds about right. Anyway, she was a very 
refined and kind-hearted young woman who'd come up to 
Michigan from down South, so innocent that she didn't 
understand (or at least pretended she didn't) an 
extremely naughty word, "turd," when the class clown, 
Bobby Turner, made a joke about it. "Turd?" she repeated, 
somewhat mystified. "I don't believe I know that one, 
Robert." We all felt very wicked as we snickered.

     All of which makes it seem strange, now, that she 
could do what she did for many consecutive days: she read 
her gently honeyed accent, she spoke the word "nigger" 
without the least compunction. Where she came from, it 
was a harmless colloquialism, though my mother had taught 
me it was rude. (My Dad used it as freely as Huck's Pap.) 
But we were a bunch of little white kids, and it didn't 
affect us.

     Today, it goes without saying, Miss Moran would lose 
her job in a flash. I'm lucky I knew her when I did, back 
when you could enjoy Mark Twain without facing legal 
repercussions. And when she read him to us, in her 
expressive voice, so perfect for Huck and Pap and Jim and 
Miss Watson and the Duke and the King, I was in a state 
of bliss that today's children are carefully protected 

     Floating down a mighty river on a raft! With one 
good friend and no parents! It was a boy's vision of 
heaven. Most of Twain's humor went over my head; but the 
sheer adventure enthralled me. I loved the book so much 
that I went home and read it through for myself, then 
read it again and again and again. My mother would make 
me popcorn as I sprawled on the carpet with my book. At 
age 10 I wanted to be a writer. I wrote stories about 
boys running away from home and having adventures, though 
they tended to peter out after a few pages.

     Having also read THE ADVENTURES OF TOM SAWYER, I 
thought Twain was just writing for boys, so I was later 
surprised to learn that HUCK FINN was regarded as a 
serious classic. When in my teens I went through my 
Hemingway phase, I found that Hemingway himself had 
called the book the fountainhead of all subsequent 
American fiction. When my first son was about 10, I read 
part of it aloud to him, and was delighted when he 
laughed at parts I'd seen no humor in at his age. He 
thought Pap's boozy railing about "that nigger" was a 
riot; I didn't have to explain to him what irony was.

     Twain couldn't have predicted today's 
state-sponsored touchiness about the N-word; but he knew 
that the cunning use of regional American English, even 
in the mouth of an unschooled, naive, superstitious boy 
who has never questioned the prejudices of his time and 
place, could say more about morality than any sermon 
could. One morning, far down the Mississippi, Huck finds 
Jim in a sad mood: "He was thinking about his wife and 
his children, away up yonder, and he was low and 
homesick; because he hadn't ever been away from home in 
his life; and I do believe he cared just as much for his 
people as white folk do for their'n. It don't seem 
natural, but I reckon it's so." Then, instead of reaching 
a universal moral about the human race, Huck draws the 
only lesson he can: "He was a mighty good nigger, Jim 

     Despite its improbabilities, HUCK FINN is convincing 
because Huck's own voice always rings true, even when 
Twain is inviting us to laugh at him. Huck is only a boy, 
but he describes calm nights, mournful sounds, and 
violent storms on the Mississippi with vivid, evocative 

            Pretty soon it darkened up, and begun to 
       thunder and lighten; ... Directly it begun to 
       rain, and it rained like all fury, too, and I 
       never seen the wind blow so. It was one of 
       these regular summer storms. It would get so 
       dark that it looked all blue-black outside, 
       and lovely; and the rain would thrash along 
       by so thick that the trees off a little ways 
       looked dim and spider-webby; and here would 
       come a blast of wind that would bend the 
       trees down and turn up the pale underside of 
       the leaves; and then a perfect ripper of a 
       gust would follow along and set the branches 
       to tossing their arms as if they was just 
       wild; and next, when it was just about the 
       bluest and blackest -- fst! It was as bright 
       as glory, and you'd have a little glimpse of 
       treetops a-plunging about a way off yonder in 
       the storm, hundreds of yards further than you 
       could see before; dark as sin again in a 
       second, and now you'd hear the thunder let go 
       with an awful crash, and then go rumbling, 
       grumbling, tumbling, down the sky towards the 
       under side of the world, like rolling empty 
       barrels down-stairs -- where it's long stairs 
       and they bounce a good deal, you know.

     I never saw the river until middle age, but I felt 
I'd known it all my life. It's hardly necessary to 
mention Twain's mastery of dialect and dialogue.

     Huck's affection for Jim, his only friend, sets his 
heart against everything he has ever been taught. He 
recognizes that helping a runaway slave escape is "a 
low-down thing" that could give him a bad name and 
forfeit his soul as well; he imagines his own conscience 
demanding, "What had poor Miss Watson done to you that 
you could see her nigger go off right under your eyes and 
never say one single word? What did that poor old woman 
do to you that you could treat her so mean?" Jim speaks 
of saving enough money to buy his wife and children from 
their current owner; or, if he refused to sell, of having 
an Abolitionist steal them for him. Huck comments, "It 
most froze me to hear such talk.... Here was this nigger, 
which I had as good as helped to run away, coming right 
out flat-footed and saying he would steal his children -- 
children that belonged to a man I didn't even know; a man 
that hadn't ever done me no harm." (Huck's novel 
application of the Golden Rule shows again when he 
decides against leaving the murderers to drown: "I says 
to myself, there ain't no telling but I might come to be 
a murderer myself yet, and then how would I like it?")

     But in the end, personal friendship and gratitude to 
Jim for countless kindnesses prevail over morality, as he 
understands it; and in the book's most famous sentence, 
he shocks himself with his decision: "All right, then, 
I'll =go= to hell." An act of charity makes him feel like 
Macbeth. He has a clear duty to betray his only friend.

     Twain's alertness to religious humbug colors the 
whole book. His satiric eye and ear are never sharper 
than when the fraudulent King and Duke feign piety to 
raise money. These two frontier sharpsters provide some 
of the funniest episodes in a book that is all episodes; 
in his author's notice to the reader, Twain warns that 
"persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot." 
And so far, nobody has found one.

     We see such incidents as Huck's escape from his Pap; 
his faking his own death; his meeting with Jim, Miss 
Watson's fugitive slave; his disguising himself as a 
girl; his discovery and prevention of a planned murder; 
the mysterious floating House of Death; the mad feud 
between the Shepherdsons and the Grangerfords; the 
pseudo-Shakespearean production of the King and Duke; 
their unruffled effrontery even when their absurd frauds 
are detected; their near-lynching; Huck's crafty efforts 
to outwit them and protect their intended victims; the 
shooting of the drunken Boggs by the magnificent 
misanthrope Colonel Sherburn, who then faces down a lynch 
mob. All these are unforgettable, with many brilliant 
character sketches.

     Finally comes the climactic episode that Hemingway 
rightly called a "cheat." Huck arrives at a farm where 
Jim has been captured, the mistress of which just happens 
to be Tom Sawyer's aunt. She just happens to be expecting 
a visit from Tom, she mistakes Huck for him, and Huck 
allows her to think so. Tom just happens to arrive at a 
convenient moment, and he goes along with the deception 
as he hatches a romantic and needlessly elaborate plan to 
free Jim. In the end Jim is rescued not by this scheme, 
but by Miss Watson back home in Missouri, who we learn 
just happens to have set him free before her death.

     It's all quite unbelievable, breaking the realistic 
tone of the whole novel. I've never understood why Twain 
thinks Tom Sawyer is so funny; more important, Tom as a 
character is far less interesting than Huck. We've gotten 
to know Huck's deepest thoughts and feelings, and he is 
real to us in a way Tom can never be.

     Twain should have realized this. For all his 
piercing wit, he shows Huck and Jim with great 
tenderness, and he violates their dignity when he makes 
them subordinate figures in a farce. The book is much 
better, and far funnier, when he allows them to converse 
alone on the raft on the great river.

*     *     *

     Like Walt Whitman and Henry James, Twain was a 
Shakespeare skeptic, scornful of the idea that the son of 
Stratford could have written the plays. His keen ear for 
regional language was probably one of the reasons; he had 
traversed the gap between Huck's Missouri dialect -- the 
language of his own boyhood -- and the fancy literary 
lingo of the Northeast he'd migrated to and achieved fame 
in, and he must have noticed that Mr. Shakspere had 
failed to make a similar linguistic ascent from Stratford 
to literary London.

     It could only have amused him that the poet famed 
for his "fine-filed lines" in London should have been 
supposed to have retired to Stratford, where his Muse 
could inspire nothing but the crude doggerel inscribed on 
his gravestone, ending, "And curst be he that moves my 

     =This= is the last verse composed by the greatest 
English poet of all time? Twain knew a fraud when he saw 


AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL NOTE: During the two years I studied 
Latin in high school, I never figured out how little 
Roman children could make split-second decisions about 
whether to use the dative or the ablative case. It always 
took me about half a minute to choose. But I really threw 
in the towel on my Classical studies when I learned that 
Greek kids had known how to use the aorist tense. Damn 
brats. (page 8)

COMMENDATION: If you want to dope out the debate on 
Darwinism without getting into technicalities, you can 
hardly do better than to read C.S. Lewis's little book 
MIRACLES: A PRELIMINARY STUDY. Lewis refined his argument 
and revised the book after being bruised, if not exactly 
defeated, in a famous debate with the philosopher 
G.E.M. Anscombe. (page 9)

THE P-WORD: The John Roberts confirmation hearings have 
made one thing abundantly clear: debasing yet another 
good old word, liberals have turned "privacy" into a 
euphemism for sodomy and abortion. Meanwhile, they want 
the state to violate every kind of privacy worth having.

Exclusive to electronic media:

PRESIDENTIAL PICKLE: Early in his first term, President 
Bush was able to handle the 9/11 attacks by declaring 
war. But early in his second term, almost exactly four 
years later, Hurricane Katrina has caught him 
flat-footed. You can't declare war on Mother Nature, so 
he's in a real pickle. Let's see how Karl Rove gets him 
out of this one.

BEST NEWS OF THE MONTH: All is not lost. Low-priced boxed 
sets of Astaire-Rodgers musicals and Alec Guinness 
comedies, five DVDs each, are now available.

BEYOND PENUMBRAL EMANATIONS: Neocon Charles Krauthammer 
predicts, approvingly, that Chief Justice Roberts won't 
vote to overturn Roe v. Wade because it would be just too 
darned disruptive at this point. That was exactly the 
reasoning of Sandra O'Connor and the Swingers in Planned 
Parenthood v. Casey in 1992, as they upheld Roe for the 
sake of social stability -- and the Court's own prestige. 
In fact, that's an excellent argument against returning 
to the Constitution in general. Why, just imagine the 
huge dislocations that would ensue if the U.S. Government 
observed its own fundamental law! 

REPRINTED COLUMNS ("The Reactionary Utopian")
(pages 7-12)

* Disasters, Natural and Political (December 28, 2004)

* The Queer Bard? (August 30, 2005)

* The Case of the "Randy Rector" (September 1, 2005)

* Michael Oakeshott and New Orleans (September 6, 2005)

* Hamnet's Father (September 13, 2005)

* The Era of Bad Feelings, Cont'd. (September 15, 2005)


All articles are written by Joe Sobran.

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