*Characteristically brilliant Mark Steyn column (reg. req.) taking the long view on why we should be optimistic about Iraq’s future in general and its new constitution in particular, comparing it favorably to the failed EU constitution:
The Kurds drove a hard bargain and the Shia accepted it. The Sunnis did not. Sad, but not fatal. You wait around for unanimity, you wait for ever. The US framers said nine out of 13 states would be enough to proceed, and Rhode Island and North Carolina were still not on board at George Washington’s inauguration. Quebec, incidentally, has still not signed the Canadian constitution.
There’s nothing wrong with the hard-fought trade-offs of smoke-filled rooms: that’s what the US constitution is, and, come to that, Magna Carta. The flop constitutions, on the other hand, are those that reflect the modish unanimity of a homogeneous ruling class – like the European constitution. The Iraqi document is a very subtle instrument: it effectively uses Sunni intransigence to give the Shia majority an interest in Kurdish federalism – and, if in the end that doesn’t work, supplies the mechanism for 85 per cent of the Iraqi population not to get sucked down with the hold-outs. As the aerial TV shots of looters in New Orleans remind us, at defining moments not every citizen rises to the occasion. What matters is that enough do. The Iraqi constitution understands that.
As always, read the whole thing.
*John Hawkins asks whether we really should rebuild New Orleans. A hard question, but a necessary one in the weeks to come. Louisiana without New Orleans is all but unthinkable, and abandoning cities is emotionally hard to do (the Japanese rebuilt Hiroshima, after all). But it would be wise to consider whether the city can be structurally reconfigured as a smaller and less vulnerable one.
*New Orleans-based Ernie the Attorney, who’s been dealing with the aftermath of the catastrophe himself, recommends this book about the 1927 flood of the Mississippi.
*Former Red Sox Ace Mel Parnell is apparently among the missing, as is rock legend Fats Domino (UPDATE: They found Domino). While the worst impact of the hurricane and the deluge – especially in New Orleans – predictably fell on the sick, the old and the very poor, many of whom are now dead or in mortal peril, the rich and powerful weren’t spared the destruction of homes: among those who reportedly lost their homes include Trent Lott, Bobby Jindal and several other Louisiana Congressmen, and the Neville Brothers. The rain, as the Bible reminds us, falls on the rich and the poor, the just and the unjust.
*Rod Dreher suggests a way we can expect help from the French in rebuilding New Orleans.
*The finger-pointing can wait for later, but McQ does have some useful background here, and more here from the Wall Street Journal.
*Lost in the flood-related news was the sudden death of supply-side guru and all-around gadfly Jude Wanniski. Wanniski wasn’t always right or even rational, and he allied himself with all sorts of horrendous people and ideas along the way, but he was provocative and influential, and should be duly remembered.
*I agree with Kevin Drum’s thoughts on the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, Ann Althouse on Jon Stewart and Bill Maher, and these thoughts on looters from Ted Frank, Jonah Goldberg, and Instapundit (also here).
*Dean Barnett thinks Bill Weld will beat Spitzer. (via Ace). It’s not likely, but it’s possible, and a match between a true libertarian like Weld and a dedicated nanny-stater like Spitzer could provide an interesting contrast. Howie Carr, on the other hand, thinks the Bill Weld of 2005 is not the Bill Weld of 1990, and all but calls Weld a shiftless drunk. Obviously, the key question is whether Weld still has the fire in the belly to run a tough race against an unusually ruthless opponent.
*Ann Althouse discusses the issue of men who lose sexual desire for their wives after witnessing childbirth. My advice: as the dad, you’re not delivering the baby, you’re providing moral support. Stay up at the head of the bed, look your wife in the eye, and hold her hand. That’s all she needs anyway.
*Interesting USA Today profile of Sandy Alderson.