- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 13, 2006

Cynical cause

“The national media have made a major issue out of the race between three-term Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut and his challenger in the Democratic primary, a wealthy Greenwich businessman named Ned Lamont. As they portray it, it’s a fight for the soul of the Democratic party in which the party’s far-left activists are seeking to purge Lieberman for supporting President Bush on the war, among other crimes real and imagined. So in this fight among Democrats, should conservatives care who wins? …

“Lieberman has announced his intention to run as an Independent candidate should he lose to Lamont in the August 8 primary election. A three-way race could split the state’s liberal voters and give Republican candidate Alan Schlesinger a slim chance to win the seat. …

“The cynical reason for conservatives to hope for a Lamont win — that he would make a bad senator — is the honest reason for conservatives to hope that he loses. A Senate seat is no small thing. We shouldn’t be rooting for the election of someone who, on the rare occasions when he articulates a clear position, declares that he would choose the most wrongheaded and least feasible options.”

— Stephen Spruiell, writing on “JoeConmentum,” Wednesday in National Review Online at www.nationalreview.com

‘Crazy Diamond’

“Syd Barrett, who died several days ago (no one is sure exactly when) at age 60, was, to say the least, a mess. The wire services are remembering the co-founder and first lead singer of Pink Floyd as a ‘troubled genius’ — obit-speak for lunatic — and indeed his life was a lurid tragedy. … He became something more horrifying than a rock martyr like Jim Morrison or Jimi Hendrix; he became a kind of living dead man. The most famous episode in the Barrett legend was his 1975 reunion with Pink Floyd, when he turned up unannounced at Abbey Road Studios just as the band was recording their Barrett elegy, ‘Shine On, You Crazy Diamond.’ He was a gruesome apparition — bloated, with a shaved head and shaved eyebrows — and none of his ex-bandmates recognized him. …

“For decades, Barrett was rock’s great romantic-tragic recluse, and now that there will definitely be no second act to his sad story, the Byronic myth surrounding him is bound to inflate.”

— Jody Rosen writing on “Pink Void,” Tuesday in Slate www.slate.com

Rich and richer

“It was bizarre to listen to unironic praise for the wealthy after Warren Buffett made headlines by pledging more than $30 billion to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. …

“No available data seem to support the argument that the wealthy, or even the super wealthy, have more problems than any other class. For every Paris Hilton or Nicole Richie, there’s an abusive spouse on ‘COPS’ or a machete fight in Zimbabwe. The problem might not be the paycheck, but the parents; the opportunities for misbehavior are more exciting at $200,000 a year than they are at $20,000, but they’re no more numerous.”

— J. Peter Freire, writing on “The Billionaire Apparatchik,” July 5 in Reason Online at www.reason.com

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