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Home and Abroad: Sunday Reading

Sunday, February 8, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Clark Judge warns against the unnecessary stimulus in U.S. News & World Report, using Milton Friedman as a guide.

And in the Weekly Standard Reuel Marc Gerecht provides a comprehensive report from Iraq as it voted.

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How Big Is The “Stimulus?”

Saturday, February 7, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Part of the problem with this debate is the absolutely gargantuan size of the stimulus. Stunned by the numbers rolling around, we are losing sight of the size of the mountain of cash being readied for shipment from the printers to a million different destinations.

This struck me as I read through Jonathan Schanzer’s “The Iranian Gambit in Gaza” from the February issue of Commentary. (And what an issue it is –more on that below.)

Schanzer recounts the years-long effort by Tehran’s mullahs to control the Hamas through funding, and notes an al-Jazeera report that “‘Iran is known to have given $120 million to Hamas’ over the past three years,” and that “[d]uring a 2006 visit to Tehran by Hamas leader Ismael Haniyeh, Iran pledged $250 million in aid to compensate for the Western boycott” of Gaza.

The mullahs push into Gaza is huge and troubling, but at least it helps us by comparison to understand the scale of the porkapalooza underway in D.C. Their investment of a quarter billion in Hamas is meant to alarm, and it does. It is a huge amount of meddling.

And it is nothing compared to the print-run about to get underway at Treasury.

Commentary has always been an important read, but in the years ahead it will become as crucial as it was during the Carter years. See, for one other example among many, Jonathan Foreman’s “India’s Time of Reckoning” if you want a sober assessment of the difficulties ahead for the Obama Administration.

And for sheer pleasure, read Joseph Epstein’s poignant and very wise “The Love Song of A. Jerome Minkoff.”

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Best E-mail of the New Year

Saturday, February 7, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Received after yesterday’s interview with Vince Flynn, in which he discussed how he did not allow dyslexia to deter him from his desire to be a novelist:

Would you please pass along to Dean Barnett’s family how much he’s still missed? I was thinking this morning how much I’d love to see one of his Q&As on the “stimulus” package. Wouldn’t he be having fun shredding this lunacy?

I love your show, and I’m having my dyslexic daughter listen with me to the podcast of the Vince Flynn interview. She can’t hear the message, “you are not defined by your obstacles” often enough. (See, there’s Dean again.)

Best wishes to you and your crew -
B.

Hardly a day goes by that I don’t think of Dean Barnett and miss his friendship. Dean was indeed defined by his refusal to allow CF to limit him, and B.’s connection of Vince Flynn and Dean is a perfect tribute to our friend.

The Vince Flynn Interview and Amaze.fm

Friday, February 6, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

The transcript of today’s Vince Flynn interview is here. The podcasts are here.

And the Amaze.fm song of the week –which we played yesterday because of today’s special with Flynn– was “Paper Box” by Gayle Skidmore.

The outlines of the “deal” on the stimulus convey only that the bill remains as awful and as partisan as it has been from the start. Getting Senators Collins, Snowe and Specter to support it does not in any way remedy President Obama’s breach of a commitment to bipartisanship or a new way of legislating, and of course the three votes does nothing to remove the stench from the bill. The first reports suggest it remains a giant slab of special interest pork with little if any stimulative effect but enormous outyear costs. Hopefully the House and Senate GOP will refuse to provide cover for the vast explosion of ineffective spending. Elections have consequences, and voters are waking up to the reality of having empowered the same old democrats using the same old tactics of paying off their friends with taxpayer money, even when the economy is in real need of real stimulus.

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