- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 23, 2006

Not so chic

“Having just got back from the Paris fashion shows, I’m once again contemplating the many marvels embedded within the tenets of French style. …

“This is the nation that invented style or the nation with the good sense to bother claiming to have invented style. The English language hasn’t even got a word for chic. So the greatest marvel of all is why the nation as a whole exhibits so little of either.

“The French love irony, but might not be amused by this instance because style, along with smoking and feeling pity for Americans, is at the core of their identity. … But it does not, on its own, amount to stylishness.

“Evidence suggests that it is [French] bourgeois DNA, combined with a willingness to elevate style to the very highest cultural plateaux, that suffocates style on a national level.

Virginie Mouzat, writing on “Tres chic? Mais non,” Tuesday in the Times of London


“In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans’ residents got an idea of what life is like without the rule of law. They had no telephones, no way to call 911. Even if they had, the police who reported for duty were busy with rescue missions, not fighting crime. Citizens had to protect themselves. This was made rather difficult by the city’s confiscation of guns, even from law-abiding citizens.

“After five months of denial in federal district court, the city last week made an embarrassing admission: in the aftermath of the hurricane, the severely overworked police apparently had the time to confiscate thousands of guns from law-abiding citizens. …

“Last Sept. 8, a little more than a week after the hurricane, New Orleans’ police superintendent, Eddie Compass, announced: ‘No one will be able to be armed. Guns will be taken.’ …

“John C. Guidos was successfully guarding his tavern on St. Claude Ave. on Sept. 7 when police took his shotgun and pistol; indeed, it was the only time that he saw any cops. Soon afterwards, robbers looted the tavern.”

—John R. Lott Jr., writing on “Defenseless Decision,” Tuesday in National Review Online at www.nationalreview.com

Meathead tax

“Hollywood film director turned political activist Rob Reiner believes that he ought to be exempt from accountability because of his good intentions. That was the clear message from his press conference … called to address accusations that he violated a state ban when he diverted taxpayer dollars from First 5 — an unelected commission to promote children’s health that he’s headed for six years — to run an ad campaign promoting his latest ballot initiative called Preschool for All.

“A bipartisan group of senators has ordered an audit of the commission’s funds. Mr. Reiner … vowed not to resign, because he wants to do ‘right by the four-year-olds.’ …

“Mr. Reiner’s ad campaign mentions neither the indifferent results of universal preschool nor its budgetary consequences. This, in itself, would not be a problem, because a democracy counts not on any one person’s script, but many partial ones from numerous interested parties, to get the full story across to voters. But there is a problem when someone has unfair access to taxpayer dollars to bankroll his script over others. This is why California authorities need to give close scrutiny to Mr. Reiner’s tactics — and California voters to his grand taxing plans. As Archie Bunker would say: ‘Hands off my fridge, Meathead.’ ”

—Shikha Dalmia and Lisa Snell, writing on “Hands off My Fridge, Meathead,” March 16 in Opinion Journal at www.opinionjournal.com

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