A Mind That Suits What doesn't kill me, makes me laugh... usually.

Monday, August 04, 2003 :::
A Mind That Suits is in lovely Wilmington, NC again this week. The coffee house where he spends his morning has helpfully put in an internet connection, so this blog is no longer dependent on an old iMac and AOL, which is all that was available heretofore.

That coffee house is one of the original Port City Javas. It's called Port City because Wilmington is called The Port City, which it used to be in the days of smaller ships. Wilmington also became a hot spot for kids during the long run of Dawson's Creek, and promises to remain so now that another kid's TV show is beginning to film here. Port City Java is only a few years old--A Mind That Suits used to have to drive 20 miles or more to keep up his usual morning routine, and waited impatiently while one was being fitted out in a shopping mall near his father's house. That was all a few years ago. Port City Java has now expanded agressively, hitching on the back of corporations like Harris Teeter groceries, which are also expanding. They also have cultivated a hip image to compete with a certain other aggressive coffee house chain, and is going where the kids are going. For those of you on the West Coast, the cool place to go on the East Coast is Iceland, which has, on rock radio, successfully touted its, yes, warm climate, long nights, strange volcanic terrain, cheap airfares and lodging, and typical alcohol-soaked Northern European culture. And there are now 3 Port City Javas in Iceland. Four years ago, there were three in Wilmington. The coffee is better than Starbuck's--nowhere near as hot--and the decor invites sitting. More power to them.

Is there any news organization more valuable than the Wall Street Journal? The next few items are all drawn from this morning's print edition.

Robert Bartley, the retired editor who made the Journal what it is today, has an interesting column this morning proposing that the internal silliness of the Democratic Party may force the hand of a certain US Senator from New York. Everyone but the party activists seems to realize that the nomination of Howard Dean could spell permanent marginalization of the Democratic Party. The money he is attracting and the fervor he is inspiring have pulled sensible if wrong-headed men like Dick Gephardt to the left. So guess who has been triangulating? Guess who, indeed, are the only people who have the standing to triangulate? A certain former President dismissed Democratic grandstanding over those 16-not-really--incorrect words in President Bush's State of the Union address, and insisted that it was clear that Hussein had stockpiled weapons of mass destruction in the late 1990's. That, of course, was a soft lob to his wife, who voted for the Iraq resolution and has been quietly urging the faithful to talk sense. The only thing that Mr. Bartley is leaving out of his calculations is any thinking about what the many unresolved scandals from the first and (we hope) last Clinton Administration will do. 2008 was part of Hillary's plan for that reason, and it may well be.

Besides, the self-immolation of nominees has not spelled death for the major parties. Following ideologically-driven nominees in 1964 (Republican) and 1972 (Democrat), and terrible candidates (1984, Democrat; 1992, Republican), both parties have been able to rebuild. Indeed, the 1964 Republican faction and the 1972 Democratic faction took over their parties and led them to victory. Right now, the economy is strong, and President Bush seems to be aware of the dangers of future wars while we have not decisively won the two we are still engaged in, so A Mind That Suits is betting Hillary Clinton will let the party go down to defeat, the better to come in and save it.

The grandson of the Ayatollah Khomeini has moved to Najaf, the historic center of Shi'ism. He has been there for a month and finally surfaced to openly criticize the revolution his grandfather founded. it is a great thing that Najaf is restored to its historic role as the center of Shi'ism, and that the Ayatollah Sayed Hassan Khomeini is there. No doubt, many dissidents will follow him. However, jubilation and hopes should be restrained. We cannot go to war in Iran, and the ruling clerics have shown no compunction about silencing their opposition. We should let their own leaders decide what rhetoric to use. Moreover, it is not at all clear that all Shi'ite leaders in Najaf share Khomeini's advocacy of freedom. The traditionally apolitical Shi'ites have been split into political factions by events in their region over forty years, meaning that most of them cannot remember a time when things were not politicized. The indispensible MEMRI (www.memri.org) translates Arabic-language political and religious commentary, but is anyone monitoring what is said in the mosques of Iraq on Friday?

Switching news sources, anyone who doubts the bias of the traditional network news agencies, then he should have sat with A Mind That Suits and endured NBC Nightly News the other night. Not only was there relentless negative reporting on an economy that appears to have stabilized and started growing again, there was also a lengthy report on a Nissan plant in Mississippi that is not bringing uniform economic benefits to the poor region where it is located. Cheek by jowl with the other economic news, it was cearly intended to show that things are not going that well. Except that this particular report points at the Democratic Party,and not the Bush Administration. One highly skilled worker, an African-American man, landed the best job of his life there, earning $19 an hour in a very inexpensive region. The owner of a local restaurant has expanded from 5 employees to 20, and said that the plant had been nothing but positive. Ahh, but, the reporter intoned sombrely, it has not benefitted everyone. He proved this by interviewing one woman who complained that she had not gotten a job, which was clearly supposed to enrage the viewer. The reason she did not get the job was clear to everyone but the political hack, er, reporter: the poor lady was almost completely uneducated. Even to this Southerner, her accent was nearly impenetrible, and what was comprehensible was ungrammatical. Now, what party is it that is in thrall to educational activists who claim that even the most basic standards are racist? So whose fault would it be that this lady did not receive the education she deserved.

Can there be an more unendurable public commentator than Ted Rall? The humor-free cartoonist this morning repeats the canards that we killed a lot of civilians in Afghanistan (that has been debunked), that we killed a lot of innocents in Iraq (making him the only leftist who still says that), and that we lied about WMD (though President Bush took the blame for allowing leftists to get away with that. Ugh.

A Mind That Suits repeats his question from a few weeks ago: has anyone seen a leftist who apologized for blaming the starvation of the Iraqi people on international sanctions? or for predicting massive civilian casualties during the liberation of Iraq? or for putting quote marks around "liberation?" Neitehr has A m

Well, A Mind That Suits must go do something else.

::: posted by A Mind That Suits at 9:58 AM



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