AND NOW FOR A SERIOUS POST.Pat Buchanan (and no, damnit, I'm not going to apologize) raises a series of under-considered questions in his column about the consequences of the aid cutoff to the Palestinian Authority in the wake of Hamas' election win.
THE ENEMY OF MY ENEMY IS MY ENEMY. Here's an important question for our friends on the other side of the aisle -- who to root for in Sunday's World Cup match between Mexico and Iran, the right's two most loathed countries?
THE NAME THING. One of the intriguing subplots of the post-9-11 era has been America's persistent inability to reach a consensus as to what to call the enemy. We've had "Islamism," "jihadism," the awful "Islamofascists," and now, courtesy of Tom Friedman, the even worse "Islamo-totalitarians."
AND A PONY!David Ignatius's inspiring plan for post-Zarqawi Iraq: "Destroy his networks around the country. Peel off his supporters among the ex-Baathists and former regime loyalists; break his hold in towns such as Ramadi and Baqubah; get the Iraqi government out of the Green Zone and into the streets, where it can embolden ordinary Iraqis to believe that the republic of fear has ended."
Good plan! How come nobody thought of that before? Maybe Superman will lend a hand.
WASHINGTON TIMES-INESS. If you're going to run an article under the headline "Democrats call Zarqawi killing a stunt," wouldn't it be good to include in the piece a quote from some Democrat actually calling the Zarqawi killing a stunt?
UPDATE: Via KCinDC in comments, it appears the Times has updated the story and backed off the "stunt" claim. Damage is done, though.
BYRON YORK MISQUOTES ME.. And this, after I sat next to him all morning. I didn't, to be fair, recognize him till the session's end. I'd never seen York, and wasn't alerted to his famous bouffant ahead of time, so I hadn't known I was brushing such famous knees until I happened to catch sight of his nametag towards the morning's close. At which point, we had a real moment: "We're gonna give you some color," I laughed. He sort of grunted in reply. Sort of.
DOES STUDENT AID WORK AFTER ALL? One of the more clever libertarian arguments I've heard is that federal tuition assistance doesn't make college more affordable -- if the government offers $X in assistance, colleges just respond by raising tuition commensurately. Or, as Neil McCluskeyputs it today at the Cato blog, "Some people complain that tuition is too high and demand that politicians make college 'affordable.' Politicians, to get votes, provide student aid. Then schools, suddenly able to get more money, raise tuition. But wait, that makes college 'unaffordable' again! And so it goes�"
YEARLYKOS. Wondering why the magazines are a bit quiet? Possibly because large segments of their staffs are in Las Vegas, making a fishbowl of YearlyKos. In the rooms I've been in, attendees have barely outnumbered those writing about the attendees. A CAP-sponsored seminar on media appearances this morning saw the second row populated by The Weekly Standard's Matt Labash, The National Review's Byron York, and The American Prospect's me. Also darting in and out of the session were The New Republic's Ryan Lizza, Time's Ana Marie-Cox, Salon's Michael Scherer, a Chicago Tribune reporter, and Maureen Dowd. And this was not, mind you, a large room.
LINES IN THE SAND.The New York Timeseditorializes about the "ridiculous" push for a constitutional amendment to ban flag-burning -- "an issue that exists only for the purpose of pandering to a tiny slice of voters." Though the Times is correct that this is not a high-salience, top-priority issue for most voters, it should be noted that banning flag-burning actually commands majority support in opinion surveys (support for a constitutional amendment to do so is always lower, though usually still above 50 percent).
DERBYSHIRE SELLS OUT.John Derbyshire has some odd reflections on his Party of Death review in which he recants nothing, but nonetheless says he regrets letting spirited controversy get in the way of collegiality.