Monthly Archives: March 2009

The news that’s fit to print on the Iraq War

It is an amazing fact that neither the New York Times nor the Washington Post saw fit to review Douglas Feith’s War and Decision when it was published last year. Feith provides an inside account of the debates within the Bush administration on the war to remove Saddam Hussein and related issues. The book has just been published in the (linked) paperback edition. The Claremont Institute has now posted Stanley »

The “insignficant plot” doctrine

“Detainee’s Harsh Treatment Foiled No Plots.” That’s the front-page headline at the top of today’s Washington Post. But the article itself (by Peter Finn and Joby Warrick) suggests that the headline is false. For in the third paragraph we read that, as a result of the harsh interrogation of the one detainee in question (Abu Zubaida) “not a single significant plot was foiled.” (emphasis added) It follows, I assume, that »

Who Can Do the Math?

In discussions of the current economic crisis, we hear constant references to “toxic” assets held by banks and other financial institutions. These assets are mortgage-backed securities for which the market has collapsed. As is often the case, this dependence on metaphor is revealing. People resort to talking about “toxic” assets because they don’t really understand what those assets are, or what they are worth. In principle, the value of any »

Is our DNI a fool?

Dennis Blair, the Director of National Intelligence, held his first press conference last week. Scott wrote about it here, focusing on the first portion of this comment by Blair: If we are to release them in the United States, you can’t just sort of, as you said, put them on the street and there, but we need some sort of assistance to them to start a new life and not »

The Apology Tour Continues

Joe Biden is in Latin America. When he met with several Latin American leaders at the Progressive Governance conference in Chile, he continued the Obama administration’s policy of repudiating, and apologizing for, the United States’ past foreign policy: “The time of the United States dictating unilaterally, the time where we only talk and don’t listen is over,” Biden said in Santiago after holding discussions with a clutch of Latin American »

On the pun

In the Times op-ed column “Pun for the ages,” Joseph Tartakovsky considers the lowly status of the pun. Joey is the former assistant editor of the Claremont Review of Books, now back in school studying law. In his overview of the pun, he observes that P.G. Wodehouse doesn’t use them, while Shakespeare freely deployed them in the dialogue he wrote for his characters. Joey adds that many of the puns »

Remember the Red River Valley

The Boston Globe has posted a moving photo display with 30 photographs vividly depicting the nature of the struggle (mostly) against the Red River flooding that is afflicting Fargo, North Dakota, Moorhead, Minnesota and other communities along the river. (A few photos touch on the simultaneous struggle against the flooding of the Missouri River in Bismarck.) One of Fargo’s dikes failed last night. According to the linked AP story, crews »

The persistent supplicant

As Scott and John have noted, President Obama ended his latest press conference with a tribute to his own persistence. He did so in response to a question about the prospects for “peace” between Israel and the Palestinians. He also pledged persistence in his efforts to engage Iran. I have no reason to doubt that Obama will persistently sweet-talk our enemies (Warren Christoper, call your office) while persistently hectoring Israel. »

Who’s Unpatriotic?

This arresting headline from the Associated Press came across the wires today, and was widely repeated, for example on Yahoo’s main page: “Critics call WTC tower name change unpatriotic.” The article, of course, refers to the announcement by New York’s Port Authority that the building now under construction at the World Trade Center site will be called One World Trade Center rather than the Freedom Tower. Intuitively, this seemed to »

More Smart Diplomacy?

The Catholic News Agency reports that on her recent trip to Mexico, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe. She left flowers on behalf of the American people. The Basilica is the second most visited Catholic shrine in the world, and the Lady of Guadalupe is one of the principal symbols of the Mexican nation. The Basilica houses a cloak that belonged to a »

Quite a day for Maryland sports

Today was a remarkable day for University of Maryland athletics. The men’s lacrosse team fell to the University of Virginia, the number one rated team in the country, 10-9. The game was decided in the seventh overtime period making it, according to the commentators, the longest contest in the history of men’s college lacrosse. Meanwhile, the women’s basketball survived and advanced to the round of 8 with a remarkable come-from-behind »

Know-Nothings on the March

The G20 summit will take place in London next week; it has been the occasion for left-wing demonstrations across Europe. The demonstrators are a motley crew, including Communists, trade unionists, environmentalists, anarchists and miscellaneous others. The radicalism of these groups was on display, with free enterprise the most consistent target. These two are from London: “We won’t pay for their crisis” was a common theme. Actually, I doubt that many »

Reflections on a week away from the blogosphere, Part Two

The feeling I had after exiting the blogopshere for few days this week reminded me of how I felt after I left the Republican National Convention last September. Inside the convention hall, there was great excitement, and no small dose of euphoria, over the selection of Sarah Palin. The words “home-run” and especially “game-changer” seemed to be on almost everyone’s lips. On the outside, however, sentiment was quite different. Yes, »

Reflections on a week away from the blogosphere

A brutal work and travel schedule prevented me from blogging this week. I did manage to watch President Obama’s press conference, however, and I must say that the Obama I saw was not entirely the same Obama I had been reading about on the conservative blogosphere. The Obama I’d been reading about was at sixes and sevens, gaffe prone even though married to this teleprompter, and perhaps on the verge »

Live from Tysons Corner

Reader Larry Bronstein writes a moment ago fom his iPhone regarding Mark Levin’s book-signing appearance for his smash Liberty and Tyranny: 30 minutes before the event starts at Tysons Corner, Virginia, folks standing at the back of the line were warned of 5 hour wait and the probability that they would not get a book or autograph. But the line continues to grow! L G Bronstein, at the back of »

Live from Fargo

My friend Ron McLean is one of the most talented lawyers I know. He’s a lawyer’s lawyer and he lives in Fargo, North Dakota. Worrying about him yesterday, I called to check in with him. Ron told me to go to the photo display at Twin and look at the photo of the fellow in the hovercraft. He said the fellow had evacuated him and his wife from their »

Carterism redux

In the new issue of the Weekly Standard Reuel Marc Gerecht usefully summarizes the armed intransigence of Iran’s current leadership and decries “the return of weakness.” Commening on Iran’s drive to produce a nuclear weapon, Gerecht observes: The Obama administration now runs the risk of appearing weak in its dealings with Tehran. Whether through mirror-imaging or conflict avoidance, it has set the stage for an embarrassing denouement. Unless Washington can »