Geographies of the Imagination

by John Holbo on December 20, 2005

Some time ago Tim Burke posted, requesting help expanding a ‘trope’ list for an ‘Images of Africa’ course. Here’s a sample, which gives you an idea what he’s looking for:

1) Hidden city/lost civilization deep in the jungle. Often civilization of whites or non-Africans.

2) Missionary/explorer in a cannibal cooking pot; general tropes of cannibalism.

3)  Mysterious ritual that turns out to have been marriage to chief’s daughter

4)  Superstitious bearer/guide

5)  Evil witchdoctor

6)  White man “gone native”/Tarzan figure

7)  Kurtz-style descent into madness …

And so on. I couldn’t think of anything to add at the time, now I’ve got one. [click to continue…]

Mr. Schmitt Goes To Washington

by John Holbo on December 20, 2005

Bill Kristol and Gary Schmitt in the WaPo:

   … That is why the president uniquely swears an oath – prescribed in the Constitution – to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution. Implicit in that oath is the Founders’ recognition that, no matter how much we might wish it to be case, Congress cannot legislate for every contingency, and judges cannot supervise many national security decisions. This will be especially true in times of war.

Josh Marshall has thoughts on possible difficulties with this notion that ‘the power to set aside laws is "inherent in the president."’

But without waiting for the dust to settle we’ll just step back and declare: so it’s settled, Carl Schmitt’s Political Theology is the late-breaking, runaway dark-horse winner stocking-stuffer political book of the season. And we hereby open a new front in the war on Christmas, as it is clear the President, like Santa, doesn’t have the time to go to to some damn judge every time he needs to know whether someone is naughty or nice.

[click to continue…]

Cash for comment

by John Q on December 20, 2005

Cato Senior Fellow Doug Bandow has resigned following the revelation that he wrote (for pay) articles promoting the interests of Jack Abramoff’s clients, including the Commonwealth of the Mariana Islands and the gaming interests of the Choctaw tribe. This is disappointing – I liked Bandow best among the Cato crew (unless you count Julian Sanchez). And the amount of money involved was piddling – $2000 a pop or about $24K all up. A quick-and-dirty consultancy job could have brought in a similar amount, without raising any conflict of interest.

Meanwhile, Peter Ferrara, a senior policy adviser at the conservative Institute for Policy Innovation is sticking to his job despite taking Abramoffs cash. No surprise there.

In Australia, we had an extensive controversy over cash for comment. The leading offender, Alan Jones, not only got off unscathed but went on to play a prominent role in stirring up the recent Sydney race riots.

But the question that really strikes me is this: If Bandow’s relatively minor ethical lapse is a sackable offence, how can Cato continue to harbour Steve Milloy? He’s not only a corporate shill of the worst kind, but a walking offence to civilised standards of behavior. Cato Institute President Edward Crane, who has failed to sack Milloy, ought to resign before Bandow.