- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 3, 2006

Prozac party

“Whenever the Democrats lose an election, they believe the result has only one cause: the voters didn’t get the message. The fact that the message may be the problem never occurs to them. In 2004, John Kerry stood up to accept their presidential nomination, saluted and announced he was reporting for duty. … The Dems campaigned on the Iraq war and lost. … Two years later, they think they can win by selling the same anti-war snake oil. …

“I have, in the past, recommended you buy stock in the makers of Prozac and Wellbutrin, usually prescribed to relieve the symptoms (but not cure) what ails the Dems. If you haven’t yet, do so now because I’ve had a peek inside the anxiety closet and I’m about to open the door. …

“Howard Dean is traveling the nation, building his own base for another run in 2008. If I were a Dem, I’d not get a wink of sleep until Dean was sent back to Vermont.”

—Jed Babbin, writing on “The Democrats’ Anxiety Closet,” Monday in the American Spectator Online at www.spectator.org

Modern babies

“By the early 20th century, the problems of human birth seemed to have been largely solved. Doctors could avail themselves of a range of measures to insure a safe delivery. … By the 1930s, most urban mothers had switched from midwife deliveries at home to physician deliveries in the hospital.

“Three-quarters of a century later, the degree to which birth has been transformed by medicine is astounding and, for some, alarming. … Thirty percent of American deliveries are now by Caesarean section, and that proportion continues to rise. Something has happened to the field of obstetrics — and, perhaps irreversibly, to childbirth itself.”

—Atul Gawande, writing on “How childbirth went industrial,” in the Oct. 9 issue of the New Yorker

By the sword

“So: the Pope goes to the University of Regensburg and … quotes from a medieval conversation between Emperor Manuel II Paleologus (a Christian) and an educated Persian. The conversation took place during one of those cheery occasions when Ottomans were besieging Constantinople, so it was not surprising that the topics of violence and religious compulsion (‘convert or die’) came up. The Pope quoted this sentence from Manuel: ‘Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.’

“In the ordinary course of events, you might say: ‘Yes. So what? The Pope gives an academic address and quotes a 14th-century emperor who isn’t keen on Muslims. Big deal.’ Well, that’s in the ordinary course of events. Today, we have the New York Times, which thunders that the Pope ‘has insulted Muslims’ and demands that he ‘offer a deep and persuasive apology.’ We also, alas, have members of the religion of peace, i.e., Muslims, who take to the streets all over Europe … and — just to be sure we haven’t forgotten how upset they are at having someone quote a 14th-century emperor accusing Mohammed of spreading faith ‘by the sword’ — murder Leonella Sgorbati, an Italian nun, and her bodyguard at a hospital in Mogadishu, Somalia, where she cared for impoverished Muslim children.”

—from “More from the religion of peace,” in the October issue of the New Criterion

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