Michael Barone

December 2005

Ironman on Generation W

My frequent e-mail correspondent Ironman picks up on my latest U.S. News column on lessons of the past 25 years in which I wrote that "in December 1980, Jimmy Carter was serving his last full month in office and Ronald Reagan was president-elect ... Experts preached that America's best days were ...

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Texas Districts: Hold 'em

Rick Hasen, a law professor who runs the thoughtful and informative electionlawblog.org and who seems to be a Democrat, has an interesting post on Slate as to why Democrats should not wish the Supreme Court to overturn the Texas redistricting.

It's a good, solid contribution. Also, it's not clear ...

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Alaskan Senator: Popular or not?

In an article in the December 20 Washington Post, reporter Shailagh Murray writes, "[M]any Alaskans take a practical view of [Sen. Ted] Stevens. 'I would not say he's the most popular person in Alaska,' said Gerald McBeath, a professor of political science at the University of Alaska at Fairbanks.

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A bump for Bush?

Scott Rasmussen's automated poll has George W. Bush's job rating up sharply, from 44 percent on December 19—about where it's been lingering for months—to 50 percent on December 23. By itself this just might be taken for an outlier, but other polls have also showed a significant uptick in Bush's job ...

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All the news that's print to fit

Ken Auletta has a long piece in this week's New Yorker on New York Times Publisher Arthur O. Sulzberger Jr. "Young Arthur," as Auletta tells us he is often called, had had a bad few past years–the Jayson Blair scandal and the firing of top editor Howell Raines, the backing and then abandonment of ...

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Executive Pay

Over the years, I've moved from left to right on most issues. But there are still some issues on which I'm with the left. One of them is executive pay. Yesterday the Wall Street Journal reported that, as the subhead put it, "Compensation Rises Again as CEOs Get Lavish Packages for Coming, Going or ...

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The amazingly prolific John McWhorter has written another book, Winning the Race: Beyond the Crisis in Black America. This is a follow-up to his 2001 book, Losing the Race: Self-Sabotage in Black America. I haven't had a chance to read the whole book but am eager to do so. Let me share with you ...

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Kyoto sinking

Clive Crook's account in the National Journal of the Montreal conference on the Kyoto Protocol. Crook believes that global warming is real and requires reductions in carbon emissions. But he recognizes that Kyoto is a failure:

Many are now being forced to admit that the policy is failing–so ...

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Iraqis vote

Here's a list of the Iraqi polling places in the United States. They are in McLean, Va.; Skokie, Ill.; Dearborn or Farmington Hills, Mich. (the listing on this one is in Arabic); Pomona, El Cajon, and Pleasanton, Calif.; and Nashville. On December 15, you might want to go over and see Iraqis vote;

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Great Salman Rushdie column on multiculturalism and the demerits thereof. Money quotes:

When we, as individuals, pick and mix cultural elements for ourselves, we do not do so indiscriminately, but according to our natures. Societies, too, must retain the ability to discriminate, to reject as well as ...

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Let the force be with you

There has been a lot in the British papers on the new Conservative Party leader David Cameron. Onetime Conservative M.P. Matthew Parris has an interesting piece in the Sunday Times; the theme is that "the Force" is with him. Margaret Thatcher, was with Tony Blair, now is with David Cameron. In ...

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American high schools

The Winter 2006 issue of the Hoover Institution's Education Next has several interesting articles on high schools. It is one of the features of our national life that in a country with so many islands of excellence our high schools stand out as a huge island of mediocrity. How can we change that?

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The Democrats and Iraq

"Democrats fear backlash at polls for antiwar remarks" is the headline over this Washington Post story. There's obviously some panic in Democratic ranks over DNC Chairman Howard Dean's statement that the war in Iraq was unwinnable (Dean has argued, unconvincingly, that his remarks were taken out ...

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Health savings accounts

Here's an interesting article on health savings accounts from the Wall Street Journal.

The Bush administration and the congressional Republican leadership argued that one of the main achievements of the 2003 Medicare prescription drug bill was that it authorized and encouraged health savings ...

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Conservative Party leader David Cameron

David Cameron, 39 years old and after just four years in Parliament, has been elected leader of Britain's Conservative Party. Cameron took the lead after his speech, delivered without notes, at the Conservative Party conference in October, and he finished first of the five competitors among ...

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More on General Motors

Here is a dispatch from frequent e-mail correspondent Ironman from Connecticut:

I note with interest your latest GM post. It seems they closely track another Michigan based behemoth, Kmart.

In the 1970s and 1980s, Kmart was the 800-pound gorilla in retailing (I know as my parents ran a market ...

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The House of Lords

Sunday newspapers are typically filled with evergreen stories, many of which have sat on the in-type list for weeks or even months, that editors hope will prove interesting to readers even though they don't advance the news. Such a story, I suspect, was Mary Jordan's piece, datelined London, on ...

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The Wal-Mart controversy

The Wall Street Journal ran an editorial in its Saturday edition on the various controversies over Wal-Mart. It makes the point that the attacks on Wal-Mart are led by union leaders who are frustrated that Wal-Mart employees have refused to vote for union representation. The editorial makes some ...

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The war against boys

A fascinating article by education consultant Michael Gurian in the Washington Post's Sunday Outlook section on the fact that boys are not learning as well as girls. It's been an untold secret for a long time that the majority of college students and increasing percentage of students in graduate ...

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I grew up near Canada, in Detroit and Birmingham, Mich., and can remember traveling there in the late 1940s and early 1950s. In those days, the main Eaton's department store in Toronto proudly hung the Union Jack over the street. Things have changed now. Canada's politics today seems more Belgian ...

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Princeton conference

I'm in Princeton, N.J., today for a conference on "The Conservative Movement: Its Past, Present and Future." An interesting phenomenon: an Ivy League conference on conservatism in a town that voted 76 percent to 23 percent for John Kerry and where house prices are probably over $1 million per unit.

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Harvard Law goes sensible

Here's an interesting article from the New York Observer on Harvard Law School. . It seems that Dean Elena Kagan has been—gasp!—hiring conservatives as well as liberals to the law school faculty. Even more amazing than that, she has come forward and appeared as an introducer at a Federalist ...

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The limits of tolerance

The impulse of intellectual elites in Europe, and North America as well, is to show their tolerance by tolerating intolerance of tolerance. If Muslims object to some free expression, then that free expression must be suppressed. This sounds like alarmism to many, but it is a fact of life. Witness:

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