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September 30, 2005


I've long been curious to read Kagan's Peloponnesian War. I figure it's got to be the rosetta stone for the NeoCon movement. I mean, did these guys read Thucydides and deliberately decide to copy the expedition to Syracuse?

Only I'd have to go to the library to get the book out. No way he's getting my hard earned cash.

I will, however, attest to the continued pertinence of the Iliad (and Thucydides). I was teaching the former on 9/11 and the latter during the 2000 election. And even my cute little 18-year olds got it. Blanched when they read the descriptions of war slaughter.

So maybe we just need to teach more kids to read.

Hey Meteor...

I had some fun today. Made me feel a little better even though I doubt it will do much good:


I also busted my ass about that nitwit Bill Bennett in a post here:


Right before I went to the Cyclidic islands of Greece I thought about reading the Odyssey. I hadn't read it in decades. Then I got lucky. NBC was about to run a mini series based on it. Unfortunately it sucked.

The trip rocked though. There's an island called Delos that is just jam packed with ruins. It was also at the time of the Summer Solstice which is no doubt the best time to meet Scandanavian women.

"Superman" and "Batman" had some great sword fights in Troy, the only good thing about that movie.

I liked that big flaming ball of whatever. After that it put me to sleep. The same thing happens with Victor Davis Hanson

Open Thread? Great! I have a flaming bag of dog poop to drop on your doorsteps:

For all the folks who busied themselves with the "there are no more John Robertses" arguments over the past few days, allow me to toss into the mix the lady they're calling "the female John Roberts:" Maureen Mahoney.

One Senate Republican aide described her as "another John Roberts."

Legal historian David Garrow calls her "the female John Roberts"

It may be that the female John Roberts is out there. Like Roberts, Maureen Mahoney is a leading Supreme Court litigator...:

a leading Supreme Court litigator; she's been arguing before the court since 1988. Like Roberts, she's from the Midwest (born in South Bend, Ind.). Like Roberts, she clerked for Chief Justice William Rehnquist. Like Roberts, she was one of Kenneth Starr's deputies when he was solicitor general for Bush I. Mahoney's problem: She has argued in favor of affirmative action--on the winning side for the University of Michigan Law School in the 2003 Supreme Court case Grutter v. Bollinger. But that shouldn't disqualify her if defending development restrictions around Lake Tahoe--a bad loss for the property-rights movement--didn't disqualify Roberts. Also, Mahoney isn't a judge. In 1992, George H.W. Bush nominated her for a federal trial bench seat in Virginia, but Bill Clinton became president before confirmation. So, she's still a lawyer at the Washington, D.C., firm Latham & Watkins.

So, is she really the "female John Roberts?" I don't know. But I've got three cites all in the last ten days that say she is.

Will it matter whether she really is or not? We're witnessing the birth of a meme here. A meme that might -- if Red State is to be believed (thanks, DemFromCT) -- be all that's necessary to grease the skids:

The jury is still out on the nominee. Says one from a phone call this morning, "The White House has gone into second guess mode. They want another Roberts, an enigma who will slip through and turn out to be a conservative.

Although the Red State author concludes that this is more likely to mean that Thompson or Gonzales get the nod, the repetition of the "another John Roberts" language, particularly the "female John Roberts" formulation, should be a red flag for observers.

Between Technorati and Google Blog Search, I've already got seven hits on the phrase.

Why didn't I save that for tomorrow's open thread? I would've gotten all kinds of links and stuff. Oh well.

This must be why we don't have ads.

Funny, I started rereading The Peloponnesian Wars in 2002, but didn't finish it. The Syracuse campaign I remember from college classes. Democracies that try to have empires lose their souls. For the effects of war, I always liked Euripides' "The Trojan Women." I saw a performance during the Vietnam War. And sometimes during the flame wars at Kos I think about Antigone. She insists on burying her brother as a matter of principle while Creon has decreed no burying of the dead in an effort to bring an end to the war and save lives. Who is right?

Camus' "The Plague" seems like another classic and timely read.

I should have put that bin Laden bit from the Times at the top of the thread. Frankly, I can't figure out whether bin Laden was just sick of Sudan and keen on the possibilities of London night life, felt the dialysis would be better there was some other more sinister purpose to a change of venue. I sure know I would rather live in Brixton than Tora Bora, no matter what my politics.

Shirley Jackson's The Lottery is another good one. It says some interesting things about how a society maintains cohesion, and how people do--and do not--stick together. I've always found it to be eerily realistic, even though it's fiction.

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