The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Tuesday, April 29, 2003  

Case Now In Its Eighth Day

A young girl from Savannah, Ga., is missing.

Her name is Ashleigh Moore.

She is 12 years old.

She is an honor student.

She is 5 feet, 4 inches tall and weighs 120 pounds.

She has black hair and brown eyes.

She was last seen wearing a white shirt and white pants.

She was last seen on April 18 at her home on Weiner Dr. in Savannah.

She is very near-sighted and normally wears glasses, without which she cannot see.

She has been missing for more than a week.

Never heard of her?

Didn't catch the three-alarm blast on CNN about her?

Missed the "Amber Alert" on this one?

Yeah, it was the same with me. I hadn't heard word one about Ashleigh Moore until a sibling sent along this story, the text below excerpted from the Savannah Morning News:

Savannah police had no new information Saturday on the condition or whereabouts of missing 12-year-old Ashleigh Moore, said police spokesman Bucky Burnsed.

It was the eighth day since the girl's disappearance from her southside home.

Police suspect foul play.

Earlier in the week, investigators scoured the densely wooded, marshy areas of Hutchinson Island following what they said was a credible tip. However, the search yielded no trace of the girl.

Ashleigh was reported missing April 18 by her mother's live-in boyfriend, Bobby Buckner. The girl's glasses were left in her room, though she cannot see without them.… [Ed.: Emphasis added.]

Buckner, 26, has not been charged in connection to the disappearance. But he is on probation for the 1995 molestation and statutory rape of a 12-year-old friend of his sister's. Buckner was sentenced in 1996 to one year in jail and 14 years probation….

Oh, did I forget to mention that Ashleigh Moore is a black, African-American girl?

I hate to sound cynical, but I wonder if Ashleigh, despite her very Anglo-Saxon-sounding name, is just a little too dark to earn herself an Amber Alert, let alone spark a new wave of national hysteria.

Please remember Ashleigh in your prayers.

[Ed.: To report any information about this case, call the Savannah Police Dept. at (912) 232-4141.]

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |

Thursday, April 24, 2003  

It Just Keeps Getting Worse

I first began reading the New Republic when it was edited by the brilliant Michael Kinsley, and, for the most part I stayed with it while it entered its unceasing decline under the editorship of the likes of Andrew Sullivan (i.e., Martin Peretz), when it was hit or miss, and Michael Kelly (i.e., Martin Peretz), when it was just plain awful, and more recently, Peter Beinart (i.e., Martin Peretz). Lately, TNR again has become erratic, though I think the magazine would be much better if the reader could more clearly see Beinart's influence at work.

The latest issue, however, is absolutely despicable, and will for the foreseeable future mark the end of my subscription to the magazine. (I cannot help but wonder whether Sullivan -- still listed on the masthead as a senior editor -- waltzed into the office this week to retch a little bile.) To wit, here is TNR on David Brock's masterful Blinded by the Right:

[L]et us be clear: David Brock is, by his own admission, a liar. He lied when he was a youthful liberal, and he lied when he was a not-quite-so-youthful conservative. Whether he lied in his latest book is, in some ways, beside the point: It is a toxic smear job of nearly everyone who wandered into Brock's careerist orbit in the '90s -- sources, employers, colleagues, friends.

You have it wrong, Messrs. Peretz and Beinart: By printing this tripe, this inexplicable display of animosity toward Brock, you have joined the liars, smearers, and disreputable hacks who cannot muster the courage -- or facts -- to refute any meaningful element of Brock's book. How sad that a once great intellectual magazine has resorted not to reasoned argument and intelligent discourse, but to the name-calling, character assassination, and wholesale defamation we long have learned to accept from talk radio and right-wing camera hogs. What a shame. What a disgrace.

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |

Wednesday, April 23, 2003  

And He's Coming to Philadelphia!

Hey, how about three cheers for Gov. Howard Dean (D-Vt.)?

Earlier today he took a strong and principled stand against the bigoted, ignorant, hateful, and disturbed remarks by Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) about gay people and their relationships.

Now, as it happens, Gov. Dean, like former senator Gary Hart, is a blogger, a member of a higher species, if you will. And at his site today, Gov. Dean wrote an important piece in response to the ridiculous comments coming from the mouth of Pennsylvania's most junior senator, Rick Santorum (R):

I am outraged by Senator Santorum’s remarks.

That a leader of the Republican Party would make such insensitive and divisive comments -- comments that are derogatory and meant to harm an entire group of Americans, their friends and their families -- is not only outrageous, but deeply offensive.

The silence with which President George W. Bush and the Republican Party leadership have greeted Sen. Santorum’s remarks is deafening. It is the same silence that greeted Senator Trent Lott’s offensive remarks in December. It is a silence that implicitly condones a policy of domestic divisiveness, a policy that seeks to divide Americans again and again on the basis of race, gender, class, and sexual orientation.

It is a policy that must end, and it is a policy that will end with a Dean Presidency. This Saturday, April 26th, marks the third anniversary of the signing of the Civil Unions bill in Vermont. I signed that bill because I believe no human being should be treated with less dignity than others simply because that person belongs to a different category or group. I also believe that, as Americans, it is our duty to speak up when others are treated wrongly -- especially when others are treated wrongly by a member of the Senate leadership.

I urge all Americans, and members of both parties, to join me in condemning Sen. Santorum’s remarks. They are unacceptable, and silence is an unacceptable response. By standing up against such divisive rhetoric -- whether one is gay, lesbian, or straight -- we can begin to achieve the American ideal of equal rights for all people.

Not only is that statement gratifying, even amazing, get this: Gov. Dean is coming to Philadelphia! How often does that happen? I mean, someone important coming to Philadelphia? (Okay, I realize President George W. Bush was just here, but that was sort of a cameo, photo-opportunity thing.)

Gov. Dean will be in town for a fundraiser on Sunday, May 4, from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Mixto, 1141 Pine St. (The requested contribution is a mere $50.) Afterwards, he will be walking the streets of Philadelphia for a "meet and greet."

For those of you in town that day, come and meet, or at least keep an eye out for, this most honorable gentleman, the event organized by Philadelphians for Dean.

[Note: This post is not necessarily an endorsement of Gov. Dean's campaign for the presidency.]

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |


To Be Introduced by La Paglia

In what's being described as "a rare public appearance," but which would more aptly be portrayed as "a fleeting appearance outside his hovel," soi-disant journalist Matt Drudge is appearing, and I suppose saying a few words, in Philadelphia tonight.

Drudge's groundhogging is being billed as "a freewheeling downtown discussion on internet and news trends." Fascinating. Hip. Cool. (Leave the dopey hat at home, dude.)

Appropriately, Drudge is to be introduced by faux scholar and art-school teacher Camille Paglia.

Hmmm…I wonder if failed blogger, laughable columnist, and self-styled pro-life libertarian lesbian -- "Don't pick on me or I'll smear you in the Los Angeles Times and my girlfriend will send you nasty e-mail!" -- Norah Vincent, she lately of nearby Yardley, Pa., will be attending?

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |


No Surprises Here

Not surprisingly, Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) yesterday rose to the defense of his comrade-in-arms, Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), following the latter's bizarre remarks about homosexuality and gay people. (See Sen. Santorum & the Sacrament of Marriage, below.)

And, not surprisingly, Sen. Specter managed to avoid discussing the real issue. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports:

Specter, a fellow Pennsylvania Republican, said he accepted Santorum's statement that his comment should not be misconstrued as a statement on individual lifestyles.

How could it possibly be interpreted otherwise?

"I have known Rick Santorum for the better part of two decades and I can say with certainty he is not a bigot," Specter said in a statement.

He's not? He sure sounds like one.

Is this all Sen. Specter has to say on the subject? Can he not muster even a few words of criticism of Sen. Santorum's illogical, insensitive, and irrational remarks?

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |


O Most Holy of Holies!

I've been pretty harsh here in my statements in the past about Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), but today I'm going to be kind -- though just for a moment.

We know that Sen. Santorum considers, and frequently proclaims, himself a devout and loyal Catholic. As such, his recent statements about homosexuality, homosexual relations and relationships, and gay people in general are not altogether surprising.

Aside from his inclusion of comments about bigamy, polygamy, bestiality, and incest -- which are typically the stock in trade of conservative fundamentalist Protestants -- Sen. Santorum's views on homosexuality are largely in line with those of his church.

Sen. Santorum is entitled to his opinions, obnoxious, offensive, and ignorant as they are, and, of course, and he is entitled to express them, both privately and publicly.

Since I prefer not to engage in the usual fruitless argument one inevitably finds oneself with those of Sen. Santorum's doctrinaire persuasion, I'll let others address the illogic and bigotry of his recent comments and his bizarre "explanation" of those comments (published at his web site), as several editorialists, columnists, politicians, and bloggers already have done.

I will say, though, that the silence of the senator's colleagues is deafening. The small and utterly lacking in influence Log Cabin Republicans have issued their perfunctory criticism, of course, but unless I've missed something, I haven't yet heard any of Sen. Santorum's fellow Republican lawmakers object to his remarks. This, in and of itself, speaks volumes about the disregard and disdain with which most conservatives and Republicans regard a significant segment of the American people.

But more important, I have several questions for Sen. Santorum, too, turning the tables, if you will:

If we, as a pluralistic -- an almost supremely pluralistic society -- are to accept, collectively, regardless of our differing faiths or even absence of faith in God or any other higher being, your views on homosexuality, compatible as they are with your conscience and your faith, why stop there?

Why not go a few steps farther to ensure the sanctity of the sacrament of marriage?

Shall we outlaw contraception?

Shall we outlaw divorce, or at the very least, remarriage after divorce?

Shall we outlaw adultery and make it a crime against the state?

Shall we outlaw premarital sexual relations between men and women?

Shall we make cohabitation illegal?

Shall we outlaw all forms of what is commonly known as sodomy, even among married couples?

Shall we insist that all married couples procreate and investigate those who do not?

Shall we outlaw the marriage of infertile women and sterile men, and insist on premarital fertility tests?

Shall we outlaw the marriage of women beyond their procreative years?

Where does it end, Sen. Santorum? Tell us, sir, where does it end?

[Post-publication addendum (April 25): The Philadelphia Daily News is conducting a poll about Sen. Santorum's future. Go vote!]

[Post-publication addendum (April 25): Be sure to visit Andrew Northrup's blog, The Poor Man, for his observations on this controversy.]

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |

Thursday, April 17, 2003  

What Are a Few Thousand Priceless Artifacts Between Friends?

Almost a month ago I wrote here about the risk of war on Iraq to that country's inestimable, and underappreciated, historic treasures ("Bombing the Cradle of Civilization: A Clueless Pentagon; An Irresponsible eBay"). At the time, many archaeologists were up in arms over the Pentagon's disregard for the implications of its military campaign on Iraq's museums and as yet not fully explored historic sites.

Alas, we see now their worst fears have come to pass, with disheartening reports of the unobstructed looting the Iraq's National Museum of Antiquities, the Iraqi National Library, Saddam Hussein's many residences (where, no doubt, he had hoarded valuable artifacts for his own pleasure), and other sites.

Not that anyone in Washington, outside the Smithsonian and the city's other great museums, cares very much, but this is nothing less than a cultural tragedy of the highest order -- and an entirely preventable one at that.

The loss of life from the U.S. operation, fortunately held to disturbing but not obscene numbers, is certainly of greater concern and obviously more regrettable, but we would be mistaken if we collectively shrugged our shoulders over this catastrophe.

There has been at least some fall-out in the nation's capital, but it matters little at this point. According to Paul Richard, writing in today's Washington Post ("Bush Panel Members Quit Over Looting"), Martin E. Sullivan, chairman of the President's Advisory Committee on Cultural Property has resigned and another committee member, Gary Vikan, director of Baltimore's Walters Art Museum, will resign from the committee over the same issue.

Said Sullivan, who has chaired the advisory committee since 1995:

"From a practical perspective my resignation is simply symbolic....The tragedy was foreseeable and preventable....The tragedy was not prevented, due to our nation's inaction."

Vikan noted that Baghdad and its historical treasures have been ransacked in the past. "But it hasn't been this bad for 700 years," he added.

Meanwhile, Richard Moe, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, has written to Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld urging them to ensure that U.S. and British forces act to protect the collections held in the National Museum.

Moe's concern, according to the Post: "Officials at UNESCO estimate that about 150,000 items, with a total value in the billions of dollars, [already] have been taken. Losses include 4,000-year-old Sumerian gold jewelry, 5,000-year-old tablets with some of the world's earliest known writing, and thousands of other objects."

Despite this, Secretary Rumsfeld appears, at best, unfazed by the looting at the museum and the library. "Looting is an unfortunate thing....No one likes it. No one allows it [sic]. It happens, and it's unfortunate....The United States is concerned about the museum in Baghdad, and the president and the secretary of state and I have all talked about it, and we are in the process of offering rewards for people who will bring things back or to assist us in finding where those things might be."

Meanwhile, let's be on the look-out for a forceful statement from eBay Inc.'s president and chief executive officer, Meg Whitman, guaranteeing the online auction site will not tolerate trafficking in artifacts looted from Iraqi cultural repositories. Yeah, right.

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |

Wednesday, April 16, 2003  

Are We on the Sixth or the Seventh?

The woefully lacking in talent Ben Affleck and the sorrowfully lacking of anything except, well, you know, Jennifer Lopez in a remake of the classic film "Casablanca"?

Just one question: Is this the sixth or the seventh horse of the apocalypse?

If you share my opinion of this ghastly endeavor, please take a moment to sign the petition -- "Stop Them Before They Film Again!" -- today. (You will be asked for your e-mail address, but please know that it will not be published if you sign your name to this urgent and critically important appeal.)

Sadly, embarrassingly, even, not one person to whom I sent this appeal on a personal basis has signed the petition. Obviously, I have no clout. I suspect you have more. It's time for action.

[Ed.: This item was published previously at TRR: The Lighter Side of Rittenhouse.]

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |


Is There No End to This Wretched Gossip's Depravity?

Michelangelo Signorile has a must read column in the latest New York Press, "Slams & Smears: Why Grove Put Brock on the Block," (also published at on the oh-so-low ways and means of Washington Post gossip columnist (He hates it when you call him that!) Lloyd Grove.

Truly there is no depth the bottom-feeding Grove will not explore in his effort to curry favor with the powers that be.

Signorile's case project with respect to Grove: David Brock, a man whose astounding book, Blinded by the Right, ought to be on your bookshelf -- and in two forms: hardcover and the new paperback edition -- and shared with friends and family, a book the right continues to excoriate but refuses to tackle head-on. [Ed.: Full disclosure: Signorile is a friend and Brock was an acquaintance of mine while I lived in Washington, though I doubt he remembers me now.]

Oh, and if you haven't heard already, Signorile has a new syndicated radio program. Imagine that! A liberal, a genuine liberal, invading the eighth circle of Dante's Inferno! Click here for more details.

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |


Arlen Specter: A Conservative in Conservatives' Clothing

In a remarkable display of stating the obvious, Chris Mondics of the Philadelphia Inquirer for Monday's paper penned a piece entitled, "Specter Observers Sense a Shift Right."

Mondics's hook: A lunch meeting two weeks ago between Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), described by the reporter as one who is "normally viewed as a moderate Republican," and Rev. Jerry Falwell.

Mondics reports:

Specter said the purpose was to talk about ways to bolster support for Israel on Capitol Hill.

But the sighting of Specter…with one of the nation's best-known religious and cultural conservatives has played into speculation that Specter is seeking to highlight his more conservative views ahead of next year's election.

According to Mondics, those who see a rightward shift in Sen. Specter's politics point to the impending primary challenge from Rep. Patrick J. Toomey (R), a conservative congressman from Allentown, Pa. And that, the reporter says, "has raised concerns among some liberal interest groups that the senator may be taking more conservative positions to solidify his primary chances."

Mondics cites such organizations as the Clean Air Council and the Sierra Club, though I suspect many more organizations -- and individuals -- could readily have been found to raise questions about Sen. Specter's voting record and public statements this year.

As for Sen. Specter, he told Mondics, "I'm a pragmatist."

Well, that's one way of looking at it. Douglas Johnson, legislative director of National Right to Life, an important interest group in this campaign given Sen. Specter's claim to "moderation" relies almost entirely on his record on abortion, put it another way: "I would say he is inconsistent." I'd say that's something with which almost anyone, Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative, would agree.

In the same interview with Mondics Sen. Specter said Democratic strategists "are trying to undercut the support I get from a lot of Democrats. They are trying to find a candidate and trying to develop a case that I am vulnerable, and so far, they don't have any takers."

We'll see about that.

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |


He Says Yes, The Experts Say No

Is Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) a champion of the environment?

David Masur, director of PennEnvironment, and Dr. Joel Chinitz of the Philadelphia Physicians for Social Responsibility, certainly don't think so.

In a recent letter to the Philadelphia Inquirer, responding to claims Sen. Specter made in the same paper, Masur and Chinitz rightly chided Pennsylvania's senior senator for his positions on votes on such issues as drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, automobile fuel-efficiency standards, the Clean Air Act, and toxic-waste clean-up costs. (Guess who Sen. Specter wants to pay those costs, and in a state that ranks second in the nation in the number of deadly industrial dumps?)

[Ed.: Unfortunately, both Sen. Specter's letter and the Masur/Chinitz response appeared in the Inquirer's Metro Commentary section, a portion of the paper that apparently is maintained on the web site for a few days at best. My recent hiatus interfered with the timely publication of this particular post. If you would like a complete copy of the Masur/Chinitz letter, send me an e-mail.]

Worst of all, perhaps, is Sen. Specter's gross misrepresentation of his standing in a survey of lawmakers conducted by the League of Conservation Voters. Masur and Chinitz wrote:

[Sen.] Specter attempts to enlist the nonpartisan League of Conservation Voters Scorecard as proof of his "strong record on the environment." Yet, his record is a mere 50 percent, meaning he's voted against protecting our environment half the time. That's hardly a record to make Pennsylvanians proud.

Representing a once-thriving industrial state like Pennsylvania on issues such as these is no small challenge. Nonetheless, it's fair to ask why, particularly in the most critical votes on the Senate floor, Sen. Specter sides in favor of the interests of corporations, many of which have long since left the state, over the interests of the taxpayers of Pennsylvania -- those who breathe its air and drink its water.

The haunting continues.

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |

Monday, April 14, 2003  

The Rittenhouse Review: April 14, 2002

I've never been much of a believer in astrology or the like, though I often find "the occult" and "the dark arts" entertaining -- Oops, lost a few readers with that one! Nonetheless, I thought it at least an interesting coincidence that yesterday I ran across on a "do your own horoscope" CD I bought for reasons unknown a couple of years ago.

Just for the heck of it, I reloaded the CD on to my PC, entering the relevant "birth" information for The Rittenhouse Review, including the exact date and time of day, and the geographic location whence the first post arose.

The results generated by the program, published by a company called World of Wisdom, run to more than 20,000 words. Obviously given copyright issues, I can't publish the full report -- Not that I would have, anyway: Even I'm not that interested in the psychic make-up of this site. -- But I thought some aspects of the astrological profile were pretty interesting.

I've published excerpts from the report below. As I was editing it down to something on the order of 10 percent of the original text, I had to keep reminding myself the profile is about the Review, not about me. But, as most bloggers know, it's difficult to separate the blog from its writer. So this is either the chart of the Review, or of the Review as channeled by me, or of me as expressed through the Review, or all three, or a combination of all three, or something.

Much of what I've republished below is remarkably accurate. Some of it is thought provoking, a fair amount is contradictory, and by no means is it entirely flattering. I'll leave it to the reader to decide which portions of the profile to accept or reject. [Note: I've made grammatical corrections from the original text and have adapted the program's annoying "Britishisms" because, well, I find Britishisms per se annoying.]


You are an intense and rather secretive person, who believes in deep emotional involvement. You are powerfully motivated by the need for emotional security and you expend a lot of energy trying to maintain calm in this area. Being unable to control the emotional reactions of others, you have a tendency to be jealous and to engage in emotional brinkmanship. You lack emotional flexibility, see issues as black or white and tend to come with ultimatums.

You take yourself -- and the impression you make on others -- very seriously indeed. Some people may consider you self-centered. You tend at least to be the center of attention, and although you invest all of yourself when you relate to others, you give your own personal development needs priority.

You are a moody person and will often find yourself affected by fluctuating emotional states….You are finely tuned to changes in atmosphere, and adjust accordingly.

You are a larger than life character with strong views on most issues and a deep interest in spiritual issues.

You can feel that your role in life is connected to future visions and the necessity for change in society. You add a dash of originality to the world, and people are either inspired or provoked by your rather unusual personal style. You shake up your surroundings and often use shock tactics to make an impression. You thrive in an atmosphere of excitement and unpredictability.

You are a quick thinking person, rather impulsive in self-expression, even to the point of being rude or cheeky. At the same time you can be humorous and witty and quite a success socially….There is a danger of being far too argumentative in relationships, perhaps because of an innate mental restlessness.

You have a tendency to passionately embrace an ideological viewpoint, and you may wish to preach your views with considerable intensity.

You have an uncanny ability for seeing the weaknesses in others and exploiting them. Your natural psychological talent, your x-ray eyes and hypnotic presence make you an imposing person to deal with. Very little can be concealed from you.


It is not in your nature to take orders, so if you can't give them, you might prefer to go it alone….At best you are a fearless innovator, who is willing to take a risk to achieve short-term goals. At worst you are impulsive and headstrong.

You have good teaching abilities and would prosper in any position in which you had to get a message across….You are overconcerned with making an impression and like to have the last word. You hate being wrong, and have difficulty admitting it when you are.

You are a hard-working and ambitious person with a strong drive to prove yourself in society….You are often more motivated by the fear of failure than the promise of reward, and this can hold you back from realizing your full potential….You are the kind of person other people can rely on. You would rather be the power behind the throne than have a high profile yourself.

There may be a number of advantages for you in assuming a high profile in connection with specific groups of people. You may be elected as a figurehead, and your personal character can filter down to those you are connected to and have a profound affect on their lives.


You feel threatened by change, yet paradoxically are very good at adjusting when changes come. Your work will bring you into contact with the general public.

You have very winning ways with all kinds of people and can gain a great deal of personal popularity. Dealing with others -- particularly the public -- in some way or another, can be an important ingredient in your profession….You have a particular talent for dealing with women, partly because you have an instinctive understanding of their ways. Women can play an important role in your professional advancement -- indeed you may be rather dependent on their goodwill for better or worse. Basically you are a caring and sympathetic person -- and you show it.

You are impatient, but on the other hand you tend to invest your heart and soul into your work and get things done quickly and efficiently. However, you create an atmosphere of tension around you, and are extremely sensitive to criticism.


You are a very versatile person, combining good judgment with taste and the ability to convey information in a pleasant manner. Success comes when you work with communication in one form or another….Your mild manner and diplomatic nature leaves a good impression on others.

You are very concerned about justice and make a strong effort to see both sides of any issues. You can secure agreement because you are willing to listen to others, and you are careful not to alienate people with impulsive remarks.

One of your great professional assets is your intellectual curiosity and interest in communication and information….You can also be extremely persuasive.

You have some mental qualities that border on genius. Being receptive to signals in the environment that go over the head of the average person, you know how to integrate radical new ideas into your work….It is important for you to learn to put your ideas across in a constructive manner, however. You have a tendency to talk at cross purposes, without ensuring the other person is following you….You can be provocative, or go off at a tangent -- and this may only serve to alienate you. Clarify your intentions when you communicate.

You have a talent for exotic languages.

You have an investigative mind and considerable talent for finding out about hidden issues and analyzing things in depth. You are also good at keeping secrets. As such you are a natural detective and are able to find the root cause of problems….In your professional life, however, you are inclined to be suspicious, fearing that important information is being kept from you. People can feel that you interrogate them, and they tend to clam up.

An inner restlessness will ensure that you either seek a career with a variety of interesting functions, or change jobs at regular intervals. The important thing for you is to get your ideas across in society.


Being quite materialistic, you have a strong need for a solid income. Material possessions become a showcase for self-worth. You are however a careful investor, capable of saving up for the things you want.

You will be valued by co-workers for the atmosphere of calm around you.

Although you may be strongly inspired by items of physical beauty, you will rarely be satisfied by material well being alone. You have musical and artistic talents.

You are rather provocative, and your manner evokes resistance or aggression, but this can be okay if you choose employment that requires competing with others.


You are the workaholic type, and can during the course of your life develop an incredible self-discipline….On occasions however, you can be stricken with inertia, and find it very difficult to get started….Try to be motivated by anticipation of future success rather than fear of past difficulties.

You are something of a pioneer, and may embark on dangerous travels to foreign lands.

You can be driven by a nagging dissatisfaction connected with the meaning of what you are doing, and you thrive best when you work creatively or for a cause that transcends material interests. Doing something you believe in is what motivates you. You have strong socialist impulses.

You have the warrior mentality, and tend to go for your goals with irresistible energy and enthusiasm. You will be no stranger to conflict on your way to the top, and this is as much due to your own aggressive attitude as to the behavior of your superiors. You function best when you are master of your own fate. You are suited to any field that requires courage, action and a pioneering attitude. You thrive on competition.


Your provocative views will be a challenge to the establishment. You are an internationalist, and wish to concern yourself with issues that cut across national borders.…You also have strong humanitarian tendencies you may choose to work in a field which has to do with social reform or perhaps consciousness-raising.


In your life you are sure to encounter people and organizations that have a powerful position in society, for good or ill….When this influence becomes strong in your life, you will find yourself in a position that requires enormous willpower. This can lead to the overthrow of powerful people, or the collapse and restructuring of powerful institutions. It is your mission to transform the unacceptable use of authority. You also have the capacity to wield power and in doing so reform organizations.

There is a belief in the principles of brotherhood to such an extent that you prefer to give your loyalties to a group or cause rather than to any one individual. You believe in the future and the need for social change and work to eliminate borders and barriers between people and countries.

You have a deep and powerful emotional nature, and are interested in, and concerned about, the feelings of other people. However you only let on how you feel when you are completely secure -- and you are rarely completely secure. Struggling with anxiety of one sort or another is a major pastime, and professionally you may often feel you are fighting for survival. Jealousies and controversy can surround you.

So, there you have it. That's the reading of the astrological birth chart of The Rittenhouse Review, or of the Review and me as a joint-entity, or of me as expressed through the Review.

I thought about adding some running commentary through the text, but decided against it -- the I.R.S.'s clock is ticking, after all -- but if I do, I'll let you know and redirect readers back to this post.

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |


The Rittenhouse Review Celebrates Its First Anniversary

A year ago today, on April 14, 2002, The Rittenhouse Review was born, or created, or established, or began making itself known, or what have you.

This entire venture has turned into something far larger than I ever would have imagined at the time. The Review may not have taken over my life -- yet, anyway -- but it has become a fairly significant part of my life and the way I spend my days. And that, I think, has mostly been a good thing.

Thanks to everyone who helped make this day possible and who have made the past year, for the most part, an enjoyable experience: the regular readers and the occasional visitors; those who sent along a kind or encouraging word; the writers and cartoonists more successful than I who urged me to keep at it; and even my critics, from the bombastic, to the uniformed, to the egotistical, to the constructive.

It's people like you, all of you, that keep me from throwing in the towel on this decidedly unprofitable endeavor. Thanks again.

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |

Sunday, April 13, 2003  

An Early Observation from a Fellow Philly Blogger

The first Philadelphia bloggers gathering was held last night, organized by the bright, witty, charming, and beautiful Nicole of Go Fish.

I actually arrived within a reasonable time after the starting hour and I had a terrific time. Many thanks to Nicole for her effort in assembling the, well, party.

My main regret was that I didn't get to speak with several people as much as I would have liked, and a prior commitment resulted in my missing the second half of the evening: the post coffeehouse bar-hopping.

I'll probably have some more comments to add later, but surfing around the web today, checking some of the other Philadelphia blogs, I was pleased and a bit amused to read this brief note at With Karate I'll Kick Your Ass, the remark falling within a discussion of some of last night's attendees:

Last but not least, Senate candidate Jim Capozzola himself, who doesn't look like any senator you or I have ever seen, unless your senator is a 40-ish Italian hipster.

I'll take that. In fact, I'll take that as a compliment. It might even be true: Susie? Jesse? Atrios?

Meanwhile, Danny Loss of No Loss For Words today posted this intriguing statement, but, alas, offered no observation about my own most assuredly decorous behavior:

I don't want to bore you with all the details of what was talked about, so instead I offer this observation: everyone's real life behavior mapped remarkably well onto their respective blogs.

Hmm…Do I resemble my blog? An interesting question.

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |

Friday, April 11, 2003  

Is Nothing Sacred? Have We Sunk So "Lo"?

I've mentioned here and at my other blog (TRR: The Lighter Side of Rittenhouse) in the past that I'm not much of a moviegoer, but that doesn't mean I don't enjoy top-quality films, especially those from Hollywood's Golden Age. (Oh, and some of the really trashy stuff, too, as noted in this post.) Hell, my dog is named after the title character of one of the greatest films of all time!

And, not being into the celebrity-worship culture, I miss a lot of the really "hot" news. Thank God, then, for Rubber Nun, Sisyphus Shrugged, and Tbogg, from whom I learned Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez are planning a remake of…Get this…Are you sitting down?…Better yet, crouching before the porcelain god?…Casablanca.

The mind reels.

(Tbogg, by the way, has launched an online petition to stop this insanity. Please sign the petition before it's too late. And tell your friends, your family, your co-workers, even strangers on the street to do the same.)

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |


Andrew Sullivan and the Anti-Sodomites

Every once in a while I like to check in with the Washington Times. I used to live in Washington, after all, and, as such, the Times was for 11 years my hometown paper. Well, except for the fact that nobody who made it through toilet training untraumatized actually reads it.

So, what was the Times up to this week?

I see today's edition includes one of the rag's little news briefs [Ed.: Third item.], those of the type intended -- and certain -- to induce paroxysms of shock, disgust, and horror from the talk-radio set and their brothers-and-sisters-in-arms at the once-great Commentary, the formerly (occasionally) interesting National Review, and the always juvenile American Spectator:

LITTLE ROCK -- A junior high school student and his parents have sued the school district and four teachers, claiming they violated the boy's rights by refusing to let him talk to classmates about being homosexual.

The lawsuit, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of Thomas McLaughlin, 14, names the Pulaski County Special School District and teachers and administrators at Jacksonville Junior High.

The ninth-grader says teachers told his parents that he was homosexual, preached to him, forced him to read the Bible and disciplined him for talking about his sexual orientation.

Thomas said in an interview Tuesday that he wants himself and other homosexual students to be able to go to school without having to lie about their sexuality.

Let's see, what else does the Times have this week. Oh, "Movie Minis" (April 10), which includes warnings to readers about two movies currently playing in the cinemas, both with "homosexuals," namely "Irreversible" and "Boat Trip."

Ah, and I see the Times has a bit of commentary from one Terence P. Jeffrey, editor of a fringey right-wing flier, Human Events, "Texas Law Before the Bar" (April 9), in which we find heaps of praise for the Supreme Court's most prominent, though unadmitted, Cafeteria Catholic, Justice Antonin Scalia, not one word of Jeffrey's scribblings original or grounded in either fact or law.

And, of course, this being Friday, in today's paper we see that blogger Andrew Sullivan, 39, homosexual, is still collecting his regular paycheck from the Times for something called "The Weekly Dish," which the paper describes as "Tidbits from a broad range of political and cultural topics."

Tidbits is the word alright. Today's installment from Sullivan: A string of quotes from seven writers not named Andrew Sullivan, his own contribution to the 878-word column consisting of a grand total of 82 words.

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |

Friday, April 04, 2003  

Audacious Prediction: He's Gone and They Know It

All this talk about whether Saddam Hussein is dead or alive could well be irrelevant at this point.

I'm going to stick my neck out and make an audacious prediction: Saddam Hussein is alive and no longer living in Iraq and U.S. intelligence knows it.

To wit, the following report from Reuters:

The White House said on Friday it would consider military action in Iraq a success even if U.S. forces failed to find President Saddam Hussein, whose appearance on Iraqi television could prove he survived a U.S. bombing raid on the first night of the war.

While finding Saddam -- either dead or alive -- would be "helpful," White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said President Bush's "definition of victory" was removing the current government from power and eliminating the country's alleged weapons of mass destruction….

"What's important in the president's judgment is that the regime be disarmed and that the regime be changed so the Iraqi people can be free and liberated," Fleischer said earlier.

"Certainly any clear resolution about Saddam Hussein's fate helps provide some clarity to that," Fleischer said. "But the definition of victory is those two factors that I cited, that the president has cited."

Egg on my face or not, that's where I stand at the moment.

[Ed.: Thanks to reader John Curran for the heads up.]

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |


A Rare Visit to Philadelphia

When I lived in Washington, D.C., and then in New York, it sometimes seemed as if I had houseguests and visitors constantly. That wasn't the case, of course. In truth, they seemed to arrive and depart, and arrive and depart, in waves. And, of course, I appreciated seeing friends and family, and showing them around town, at least a little.

One advantage of living in Philadelphia is that houseguests and visitors appear far less frequently. I feel badly for Philly in that respect, as there is much to see and do here, and the city isn't anything like the down-on-her-luck little sister of her aforementioned East-Coast neighbors as portrayed by the media and discussed on the tourists' grapevine.

Regardless, fewer visitors meant fewer demands on my schedule, leaving plenty of time for what has been a fairly consistent blogging routine. That will change -- temporarily -- starting this weekend.

The impending arrival of these visitors, only the third group to be entertained here by me, along with preparing for their visit, together with various additional demands -- personal, professional, and political -- necessitate a brief hiatus, lasting at least through the middle of next week.

Please check back then, or, if you care to, in the interim, in the event one or another outrage pulls me back to the keyboard.

See you soon.

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |

Thursday, April 03, 2003  

Independence Hall Closed

The 500 block of Chestnut St., Philadelphia, was reopened to pedestrian and vehicular traffic Tuesday, ending, it would seem, an 18-month standoff between the National Park Service and local residents and merchants.

Not so fast.

The park service, which opposed Mayor John F. Street's (D) decision to reopen the block, abruptly and without notice promptly closed Independence Hall, and two neighboring buildings, Congress Hall and Old City Hall, also on Tuesday.

Tourists, along with the aforementioned local residents and merchants, are fuming. ("Tourists Angered by Hall Closing," by Linda Harris, Philadelphia Inquirer, April 3.)

I'm trying to give the park service the benefit of the doubt, and city leaders apparently are doing the same, but the whole thing does have the whiff of "sour grapes" to it.

[Post-publication addendum (April 4): Today's Philadelphia Inquirer reports Independence Hall, Congress Hall, and Old City Hall were to reopen this morning, along with new security measures to screen visitors: "The hall closing [Tuesday] angered local officials and tourists, many of whom saw the action as a gesture of spite. Phil Sheridan, spokesman for the National Park Service, which oversees Independence National Historical Park, denied that. The Park Service said all along that the site would be closed only about a week. The only issue, Sheridan said, was security. In the last three days, he said, the Park Service was able to construct a temporary facility for screening visitors. The screening tent will be on the Fifth Street side of the park, between Chestnut and Walnut Streets."]

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |

Tuesday, April 01, 2003  

Rittenhouse Obtains Galleys From Publishing Colleague

[In case you missed the memo, today is National Make Fun of the Cheneys Day!]

Mrs. Richard B. (Lynne Vincent) Cheney writes books!

Big books and small books! Fat books and thin books! Chapter books and kids' books! Bad books and worse books!

Cheney's latest, America: A Patriotic Primer, is described by the publisher as "a succinct history of the United States, an ABC of the principles on which this country was founded, and a book for children and families to pore over, discuss, and cherish."

Here's a sample of the "succinct history" from Mrs. Cheney that millions of American families will be poring over, discussing, and cherishing for generations to come:

A is for America,
the land that we love.
B is for the
of this country of ours....

Now catch this howler from the publisher:

To choose the twenty-six people and ideas that comprise the book, Lynne Cheney has drawn on a lifetime of learning about the American past, and on the inspiration that comes from witnessing recent history firsthand. Illustrator Robin Preiss Glasser imbues Mrs. Cheney's words with childlike joy through her exuberant drawings. Together they have created a patriotic primer, a book that teaches history by celebrating the diversity, tenacity, and faith of the American people. This A to Z of America frames the story -- and the miracle -- of our country.

I had heard through the grapevine that Mrs. Cheney was at work again on a similar book, this one about the history of the Bush administration. For this project, Mrs. Cheney has drawn on her intimate knowledge of the workings of the White House, particularly the Office of the Vice President, the counsel for which recently performed private legal work on her behalf, threatening a talented satirist, with the costs to be borne by American taxpayers.

Last week, a helpful friend in the publishing business slid me a copy of the galleys for Mrs. Cheney's upcoming book. I'm pleased to share them with you on this special day.

And so, herewith, The Bush Administration: Lynne Cheney's Primer, by Lynne V. Cheney:

A is for Arch,
Conservatives we are.

B is for Buffoon,
Dick's nickname for George.

C is for Christian,
Let's all unite under Jesus.

D is for Dick,
Isn't it precious and cute?

E is for Enron,
Gosh, so many crooks!

F is for France,
We hate them.

G is for Gin,
Jenna and Barbara taught me that.

H is for Halliburton,
The source of our wealth.

I is for Institute,
Where I sometimes hang my hat.

J is for Jenna,
She drinks like a fish.

K is for Karl,
He's running the show.

L is for Lawsuit,
I threaten them regularly.

M is for Media,
We call them "liberal" for laughs.

N is for National Energy Task Force,
Mustn't talk about that!

O is for Odious,
We're contemptible, I know!

P is for Perle,
They caught him, are we next?

Q is for Queer,
My daughter's one, too!

R is for Republican,
As all true Americans are.

S is for Supreme Court,
Thank God and Jesus they're ours.

T is for Taxes,
Too high for the rich!

U is for Unhinged,
We're coming unglued.

V is for Victory,
Ours by divine right.

W is for War,
Let this be the first of many.

X is for X-Rated,
Aschroft's initial obsession.

Y is for Youth,
We haven't a clue.

Z is for Zealous,
Our motives are pure!

[Post-publication addendum: Neal Pollack, coordinator of today's happy and joyous satirical fest, is keeping track of all the blogosphere fun at the expense of the decidedly, and irredeemably, "public figures," Dick and Lynne Cheney, at Neal Pollack's Maelstrom.]

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |