Back in the day, as a zit-faced but idealistic young teen,
I was a huge Barry Goldwater fan. "Extremism in the defense
of liberty is no vice"? I cheered, while decent people swooned.
That was in Nebraska, though, so I got off kind of easy. Can't imagine the opprobrium I would have received elsewhere. In any case, I like to think I've remained somewhat true to those principles, while a certain young lady from Illinois caved like a Kentucky coal mine.
Nowadays, of course, Barry is revered by the PBS crowd and people who like to claim they're conservatives without actually taking conservative positions. Due in large part, I imagine, to the fact that Barry's safely dead.
A number of good folks noticed Sunday's WaPo
about large milk producers successfully importuning
Congress to pass legislation crushing an upstart Californian
dairyman, who dared to—gasp!—compete
with the big boys on price. See Alex
Ed, and especially Don
Boudreaux, who mentions that it's probably a good idea to remember
the "venality, the meanness, the duplicity, and the downright vilenss of
the pompous power-hungry pols who specialize in being elected to
Congress." At Pun Salad, we can't help but agree with that.
You also gotta read Mark Steyn's column
on the Iraq Study Group's report.
Oh, but lest you think there are no minimum admission criteria to James Baker's "Support Group," relax, it's a very restricted membership: Arabs, Persians, Chinese commies, French obstructionists, Russian assassination squads. But no Jews. Even though Israel is the only country to be required to make specific concessions -- return the Golan Heights, etc. Indeed, insofar as this document has any novelty value, it's in the Frankenstein-meets-the-Wolfman sense of a boffo convergence of hit franchises: a Vietnam bug-out, but with the Jews as the designated fall guys. Wow. That's what Hollywood would call "high concept."Glenn Reynolds rounds up further acerbic comments on the topic.
Carl Hiaasen is an automatic buy-in-hardback for me. This despite his politics, which seem to be largely driven by antipathy toward (a) capitalism and (b) anyone who arrived in Florida after he did. I can live with that, though. He's a gifted and consistently funny writer; although he's kind of settled into a formula over the past few of his adult novels, it's still very worthwhile to turn the pages.
The normal Hiaasenistic elements are here: an array of colorful major and minor characters, some entirely admirable, some broken-but-mending, some despicable and disgusting. The latter usually get maimed (or worse) in improbable but amusing ways.