Quote of the Day, I Wish *I* Had Written That, @jamestaranto edition.

This is pretty much perfect:

Hix Nix Six Six Six 

“Harvard’s Satanic ‘Black Mass’ Nixed”–headline, Washington Post website, May 13

…although, for the sake of accuracy: Yankee Doodle Dandy got the original Variety headline wrong. It was ‘Sticks Nix Hick Pix.’  …Which I did not know either, prior to Wikipedia.

James Taranto wrote a far-too-good-to-excerpt piece…

here about the free speech brawl that he got into while in college. Short version: James Taranto exercised it while working at a student paper; a certain faculty advisor/mentor/publisher went ripsh*t over that; Taranto got suspended; he sued; he won.

Just… read the whole thing, OK? It’s fascinating.  And more than a little sad, and I do mean ‘sorrowful.’ Let me pull out this Kipling quote again: Continue reading James Taranto wrote a far-too-good-to-excerpt piece…

James Taranto: universal background firearms checks means that anybody can request one.


James Taranto makes an excellent point about the major problem with proposals to expanding who can request a background check on firearms:

Currently access to the FBI’s background check system is limited to licensed firearms dealers, who have an incentive not to abuse it lest they lose their license. If it’s opened up to all prospective sellers of guns–that is, to everybody–what’s to prevent someone from abusing it, say by requesting a background check on Greg Sargent, who presumably has no interest in acquiring a gun?

The system only gives a yes-or-no answer as to whether the putative buyer is eligible to own firearms under federal law. But if you’re looking to dig up dirt on someone, a “no” answer on a firearms background check would give you a nice clump of it.

Continue reading James Taranto: universal background firearms checks means that anybody can request one.

#rsrh QotD, They Would Splutteringly Agree…

…If Only They Dared edition:

…Obama is a fighter for the progressive cause. Progressives are upset with him because he is a loser.

James Taranto (H/T Instapundit).  To which I’ll add: I will not say that I am no longer scared of our eventual candidate facing President Obama in the next election, because I was never scared in the first place.  But I will say that it is pleasant to see more and more members of the Republican party catching up to my position.

Quote of the Day, James Taranto edition.

In this respect, at least, the country would be better off if Obama really did have brilliant oratorical skills.

Taranto, in discussing the President’s West Point speech (H/T: Instapundit).

Truth of the matter is, while the President is great at inspiring people who want to be inspired, he’s not that good at persuading people who don’t want to be, or who are going to be in opposition to what he wants them to do.  This would be less of a problem for the man if he weren’t a fairly typical bicoastal, Ivy League-educated academic who has been operating in one or another gentle bubble of privilege since the age of ten*.  Said bubbles do in fact teach many valuable life lessons.  Learning to handle fundamental disagreement on core issues is typically not one of them.

Ach, well, it’s not like I need the man to succeed (or fail!) to feel good about myself.

Moe Lane

*Although I do give him props for working in a Baskin Robbins while in high school.  Admittedly, if he’s held a real job since then, it’s news to me.

Crossposted to RedState.

Made-up Aristotle quote?

Here we go again*.  From James Taranto’s Best of the Web:

Yesterday we received an email from a loyal reader who nonetheless seems to disagree with everything we write–a type of reader for whom we have a special, if slightly perverse, affection. Our correspondent included a quote that he attributed to Aristotle:

If we believe men have any personal rights at all, then they must have an absolute moral right to such a measure of good health as society can provide.

Could an ancient philosopher, a man who lived and died many centuries before the advent of either socialism or modern medicine, really have been in favor of socialized medicine? We were skeptical, to say the least, and decided to do a bit of Web sleuthing.

Said sleuthing indicated that if the quote exists in what we have left of Aristotle’s works, interested researchers have not been able to find it.  It’s also revealed an interesting point about the quote: while it’s been reported that RFK had used it during his 1968 Presidential campaign (examples here and here**), the earliest reference from it so far is from 1979.

Moe Lane

*Possibly slightly unfair to bring up the Julius Caesar / Barbra Streisand thing – but then, life isn’t fair.

**The sourcing from Thurston Clarke’s (who, by the way, passive-aggressively accused THAT WOMAN of trying to get the President assassinated) The Last Campaign is as follows:

186 when he spoke at the University of Indiana Medical School: [John] Nolan interview; JFKLOH [Oral Histories, John F. Kennedy Library], Nolan; JSOH [Oral Histories compiled by Jean Stein and George Plimpton, John F. Kennedy Library], Quinn, pp. 37-42 (Quinn made a tape of the event and played it during his interview with Jean Stein); [Jules] Witcover, 85 Days, pp. 165-66; NYT, April 23, 1968; RFKCS [RFK: Collected Speeches], pp. 342-44; Indianapolis Star, April 27, 1968

Another visit to the library is in order; fortunately, RFKCS is available at my local one. I’d be very interested to peruse the oral history records, but I don’t have the research budget to fly to Boston.  At any rate, it should be reasonably easy to verify that RFK actually used the quote; it’ll either be part of the speech transcript, or on the available recordings (the only one that isn’t would be the one from Jean Stein’s collection, but it’d be very odd if that was the only place that this showed up).

Crossposted to RedState.