Michael Barone


February 2006


World population news

The Census Bureau Web site homepage has a population clock. As I write, it shows the U.S. population at 298,163,006 and the world population at 6,499,313,539. A demographer friend tells me that the world should reach the 6.5 billion mark at about 7:18 p.m. EST on Sunday, February 26. My friend ...

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David Irving goes to jail

I have to say that I shuddered when I read the news that Holocaust denier and "historian" David Irving has been sentenced to three years in jail in Austria for Holocaust denying. The idea that someone, even someone as odious as Irving, can be imprisoned—locked away, prevented from going about his ...

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Karl Rove's bookshelf

I am reliably informed that Karl Rove's latest reading is historian Robert Wiebe's 1975 book The Segmented Society: An Introduction to the Meaning of America. It's a carefully written book, and every sentence is chock-full of meaning and the result of Wiebe's wide-ranging scholarship. You can't ...

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The Boys of Baraka

I don't go to the movies all that often, but last weekend I went to see The Boys of Baraka and found myself deeply moved.

Boys is a documentary focusing on four boys from the ghetto of Baltimore who are sent to a boarding school in Kenya. There is good footage of the Baltimore slum where they're ...

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Another note on hunting

Here is a Daily Telegraph article on Kate Hoey, Labor M.P. for Vauxhall (just across the Thames from Westminster) and chair of the Countryside Alliance, on the ineffectiveness of the New Labor ban on fox hunting, supposedly in effect for a year this week. More foxes are being killed and more ...

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Footnote to the Cheney hunting accident

Evidently, no one has noticed that Kenedy County, Texas, the site of the Cheney hunting accident, is one of the lowest-population counties in the country. The Census Bureau counted 414 residents there in April 2000 and estimates that there were 407 in June 2004. Only two of Texas's 253 other ...

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Visiting British conservatives

Yesterday evening at the Heritage Foundation I had the opportunity to meet with three visiting British Conservative M.P.'s. They're all frontbenchers: William Hague is shadow foreign secretary, George Osborne is shadow chancellor of the exchequer, and Liam Fox is shadow defense minister.

All are ...

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American dreams, realized

That's the headline of the lead story in the Washington Post's Real Estate section last week. The lead is about Lorena and José Teos, who came to Fairfax County, Va., from El Salvador in 1988. Now they're living in an $800,000 house in Sterling, in next-door Loudoun County. The front ...

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Making friends in the Middle East

Reuel Marc Gerecht, a former CIA agent now working at the American Enterprise Institute, argues that our goal in the Middle East and the Islamic world should not be to minimize anti-American feeling but to encourage democracy. I think Gerecht has a point. The United States is not in a popularity ...

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Faith as a strategic factor

Ralph Peters has written an interesting article in the Armed Forces Journal on faith as a motive force in politics and war:

Suppose that Darwin was right conceptually, but failed to grasp that religion is a highly evolved survival strategy for human collectives? . . . .
No organizing ...

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The Danish cartoons

I haven't weighed in on the various Muslim violent protests at the cartoons of Muhammad printed five months ago in a Danish newspaper. Here are columns by Michael Kinsley and Charles Krauthammer, which take much the same view.

Some are surprised that they seem in agreement, but they did both once ...

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Did we really lose in Vietnam?

The current issue of American Enterprise magazine includes an article by military historian Lewis Sorley entitled "No More Vietnams: Find the will to win in Iraq–as we should have in Indochina." Sorley argues that

... no comparison of Vietnam to Iraq will be very instructive unless two important ...

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InstaPundit sighting

This morning I spoke at the Conservative Political Action Committee conference at the Omni Shoreham Hotel. I had the pleasure of speaking afterward with Glenn Reynolds, better known as InstaPundit, www.instapundit.com who was promoting his book An Army of Davids, which I highly recommend. It took ...

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The intelligence wars

If you haven't already read this week's U.S. News cover story on the CIA by my colleagues Linda Robinson and Kevin Whitelaw, you should do so. It's a first-rate piece of journalism, reporting the facts without disclosing things that should be kept secret and presenting the very different ...

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Social entrepreneurs

This week I also met with Bill Drayton, one of the most interesting thinkers I know. I knew him at Harvard and Yale Law, where he already showed a contrarian instinct: He was one of the few people on campus who supported Hubert Humphrey in 1968. Not long after that, Drayton founded and has for many ...

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Dirty windows

This week I had a chance to meet Michael Yon. He's the blogger who was embedded with troops in northern Iraq for most of last year and whose reports, and photos, have deservedly won wide acclaim. One of his photos has been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. Here's his blog. If you haven't read his ...

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Who does research?

Charles Krauthammer notes that only 30 percent of basic scientific research is funded by government today, as compared with 60 percent in the past. He notes, correctly, that this is not a sign of decline but of progress:

Some are alarmed that government R&D funding has fallen from a 60 percent to a ...

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Paul Lettow at Heritage

I attended a panel session at the Heritage Foundation yesterday featuring Paul Lettow, author of Ronald Reagan and His Quest to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, published in hardcover last year and now out in paperback. Paul is a recent graduate of Princeton who earned a Ph.D. at Oxford and a J.D. at ...

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New Orleans election

After my talk, I had a chance to talk with the secretary of state of Louisiana, Al Ater, a Democrat. Here is how he said his state is handling the difficult question of how to conduct city elections in New Orleans. Under the authority of an existing state law, he recommended and Gov. Kathleen ...

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Parliamentary politics

Member of Parliament Frank Field in today's Daily Telegraph has a very interesting view of what has changed in British parliamentary practice thanks to Tony Blair's reform of the House of Lords. This is another case where Blair's 1999 reform of the House of Lords has reduced his power as prime ...

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State of the Union: At home

A little more than half of the State of the Union was devoted to domestic issues. Here Bush seemed to be trying to change the conversation. Or start a conversation: Our current politics seems more like two sides shouting at each other than like a civil conversation. Bush for the most part avoided ...

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State of the Union: Abroad

Last night George W. Bush delivered his fifth State of the Union address. On foreign policy and the war on terrorism, he took much the same tack he has in the past. He made the same strong case for his policy on Iraq that he has been making since his Veterans Day speech November 11. He talked of ...

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