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The Weblog at The View from the Core - Wed. 11/30/05 08:00:12 AM

Readworthies XXV

A handful of interesting, informative, and insightful articles.

News, editorials, columns, essays, et al.

Goodbye, Catholics: How One Man Reshaped the Democratic Party by Mark Stricherz @ Commonweal (ht):

In mid-1971, a short book called Changing Sources of Power: American Politics in the 1970s argued that the Democratic Party should loosen its historic ties with Catholics. The book acknowledged that “the Catholic vote” had consistently supported Democratic presidential candidates since the 1930s. Even so, it contended, the “party’s political self-interest” lay in appealing to other constituencies.
“The net effect of these groups in relation to the dynamic of social change has become vastly different from thirty or sixty years ago,” the author wrote, referring to white ethnics who opposed racially integrated neighborhoods and the permissive youth culture. “Then they were a wellspring of cultural diversity and political change; now they constitute an important bastion of opposition. They have tended, in fact, to become a major redoubt of traditional Americanism and of the antinegro, antiyouth vote.”
The author of the book was Fred Dutton, who died last June. Though little remembered today, Dutton once enjoyed a kind of national prominence. In 1968, he managed Bobby Kennedy’s presidential bid and drafted the minority peace plank at the convention in Chicago....

A Fitting Address: The speech President Bush should give about Iraq. by James Q. Wilson @ OpinionJournal (ht):

President Bush and Vice President Cheney are arguing against critics of the Iraq war who are trying to rewrite history. There is some value in this, but it is a fight about the past and not about the future.
What most Americans care about is not who is lying but whether we are winning. I offer this speech that the president might use to tell Americans that we are winning:
My fellow Americans: We are winning, and winning decisively, in Iraq and the Middle East. We defeated Saddam Hussein's army in just a few weeks. None of the disasters that many feared would follow our invasion occurred. Our troops did not have to fight door to door to take Baghdad. The Iraqi oil fields were not set on fire. There was no civil war between the Sunnis and the Shiites. There was no grave humanitarian crisis.
Saddam Hussein was captured and is awaiting trial. His two murderous sons are dead. Most of the leading members of Saddam's regime have been captured or killed. After our easy military victory, we found ourselves inadequately prepared to defeat the terrorist insurgents, but now we are prevailing....

The Problem with Evangelical Theologies: Ben Witherington III thinks there is something fundamentally weak about each branch of the movement. by Mark Galli @ ChristianityToday (ht):

When evangelicals have debated, it has usually been Calvinists versus Arminians or dispensationalists versus Pentecostals. Ben Witherington III, professor of New Testament at Asbury Seminary in Kentucky, says a pox on all evangelical houses, at least exegetically. He appreciates what each tradition brings to the table — from a fresh appreciation of God's sovereignty to holiness, eschatology, and gifts of the Spirit— but he argues in his latest book that in their distinctives, all four branches are least faithful to the Bible. In the end, his book, The Problem with Evangelical Theology: Testing the Exegetical Foundations of Calvinism, Dispensationalism, and Wesleyanism (Baylor University, 2005), makes a positive argument for how biblical interpretation should be done in an increasingly postmodern setting. CT managing editor Mark Galli interviewed Witherington....

An Hour and a Lifetime with C.S. Lewis: An Interview with Dr. Thomas Howard by Carl E. Olson @ (ht):

.... When did you first discover the work of C. S. Lewis and what attracted you to it?
Dr. Thomas Howard: I first heard of, and then began to read, Lewis in the mid-1940’s when an older sister of mine came home from college with Mere Christianity. I was only ten or twelve, but I seem to recall knowing that here was a writer whose work I would like to pursue. Later, when I was an undergraduate, the Narnia Chronicles were coming out, and since they became a sort of fad immediately, I, rather perversely, put off reading them. I read them while I was in the Army in the late l950’s, and was utterly overwhelmed, shedding copious tears....

An Incomplete Investigation: Why did the 9/11 Commission ignore "Able Danger"? by Louis Freeh @ OpinionJournal (ht):

It was interesting to hear from the 9/11 Commission again on Tuesday. This self-perpetuating and privately funded group of lobbyists and lawyers has recently opined on hurricanes, nuclear weapons, the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel and even the New York subway system. Now it offers yet another "report card" on the progress of the FBI and CIA in the war against terrorism, along with its "back-seat" take and some further unsolicited narrative about how things ought to be on the "front lines."
Yet this is also a good time for the country to make some assessments of the 9/11 Commission itself. Recent revelations from the military intelligence operation code-named "Able Danger" have cast light on a missed opportunity that could have potentially prevented 9/11. Specifically, Able Danger concluded in February 2000 that military experts had identified Mohamed Atta by name (and maybe photograph) as an al Qaeda agent operating in the U.S. Subsequently, military officers assigned to Able Danger were prevented from sharing this critical information with FBI agents, even though appointments had been made to do so. Why?
There are other questions that need answers. Was Able Danger intelligence provided to the 9/11 Commission prior to the finalization of its report, and, if so, why was it not explored? In sum, what did the 9/11 commissioners and their staff know about Able Danger and when did they know it?
The Able Danger intelligence, if confirmed, is undoubtedly the most relevant fact of the entire post-9/11 inquiry. Even the most junior investigator would immediately know that the name and photo ID of Atta in 2000 is precisely the kind of tactical intelligence the FBI has many times employed to prevent attacks and arrest terrorists. Yet the 9/11 Commission inexplicably concluded that it "was not historically significant." This astounding conclusion — in combination with the failure to investigate Able Danger and incorporate it into its findings — raises serious challenges to the commission's credibility and, if the facts prove out, might just render the commission historically insignificant itself....

Lane Core Jr. CIW P — Wed. 11/30/05 08:00:12 AM
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