Monthly Archives: April 2009

A New Power on the Center Right

If you haven’t been reading the Washington Examiner, it’s time to start. The paper is read most widely on the web, but also in a print version which is distributed for free in the DC area. The Examiner turned a lot of heads when it hired Byron York, a top-notch talent, away from National Review. Now it has lured Michael Barone, the foremost authority on the nuts and bolts of »

The shape of things to come

If you are curious about what plans the Obama administration is working on to reshape American society, or what the consequences of current policies might be, attention must be paid. Among those who have been paying close attention is Charles Krauthammer. In “Obama: The grand strategy,” Krauthammer postulates “a tripartite social democratic agenda: nationalized health care, federalized education (ultimately guaranteed through college) and a cash-cow carbon tax (or its equivalent) »

Dancing around the obvious

The Washington Post continues its now-daily quest to persuade its readers that, in the words of today’s front-page headline, the “effectiveness of harsh questioning is unclear.” This time, the Post considers the case of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. The Post concedes, as it must, that after the CIA turned to enhanced interrogation tactics, KSM started talking and has barely stopped since. But the Post suggests that harsh interrogation might have been »

If there’s going to be a debate, let’s have a real debate

The Washington Post reports that a military agency called the Joint Personnel Recovery Agency (JPRA) sent an “addendum” to the Pentagon’s Office of the General Counsel stating that “the application of extreme physical and/or psychological duress (torture) has some serious operational defects, most notably the potential to result in unreliable information.” I think it was well understood that the use of harsh interrogation techniques carries with it the risk of »

Obama: How Popular?

With Barack Obama’s first 100 days in office drawing–blessedly!–to a close, every news outlet will be doing 100-day retrospectives. (In itself a weird concept, reminiscent of LeAnn Rimes, the Early Years.) A constant feature of these analyses is sure to be the claim that Obama is very popular. This comparison by Judith Klinghoffer has been making the rounds on the web today; it is titled “Obama’s Poll Numbers Trail Those »

What’s Next? Beavis and Butthead?

I realize that postage stamps are not issued, these days, with the same serious intent as when they featured George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and so on. But really–the Simpsons? This stamp series will be issued on May 7: I’m probably one of the last people in America who has never seen an episode of The Simpsons. I’ve heard it’s a funny show. But is this really the sort of achievement »

Is the Dawn Johnsen nomination in trouble?

I’ve written extensively and critically about the nomination of Dawn Johnsen, but frankly without much hope that Johnsen would not be confirmed. But now, Marc Ambinder reports that the White House is worried about the Johnsen nomination. According to Ambinder: Vote counters believe that [Johnsen] is several votes shy of the 60 needed to avert a filibuster. Some Democrats, like Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) are almost certain to oppose the »

Jay Bybee regrets. . .

I have said in the past (see here for example) that I disagree with aspects of “the Bybee memo” on torture, notably its definition of torture and, to some extent, its sweeping concept of executive power. But lawyers disagree about legal issues all the time, and it never bothered me that Jay Bybee was confirmed as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. In fact, »

Cheney in 2012!

Bill Kristol observes: “Of course, everyone’s first choice for president in 2012 is Dick Cheney. But Liz Cheney’s boffo performance yesterday in the lefties’ den, MSNBC, defending sensible interrogation policies in the war on terror, surely puts her in contention for the runner-up position.” Norah O’Donnell interviews Ms. Cheney on the “torture” controversy in light of the OLC memos and related commentary. O’Donnell is either willfully obtuse or a victim »

Porter Goss speaks

What are we to do while the president of the United States impairs the national security of the country through a transparent political charade? Former CIA director Porter Goss was chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence from 1997 to 2004. He hasn’t been heard from much since he was driven out of the CIA in May 2006. In today’s Washington Post, he steps from the shadows to »

How high the moon?

Today is the anniversary of the birth of Ella Fitzgerald. She was a remarkable artist. Each period of her long career is rewarding, though she deepened her art as she got older. She excelled in a wide variety of material and in every muscial setting. There is an emotional reserve or detachment in her singing, but there is also joy and an irrespressible sense of fun in her approach. The »

“Why Does Obama Hate America So Badly?”

That’s the question posed by Gerald Warner in the Telegraph. I don’t think the question is entirely fair, however. I think Obama only hates America as it was before it elected him President in November 2008. He might even be willing to forgive his country as of the date he was elected to the Senate. Still, Warner makes some cogent points: If al-Qaeda, the Taliban and the rest of the »

Napolitano’s Mea Culpa

We wrote here about the absurd Department of Homeland Security report that warned against the “resurgence” of right-wing extremism and, especially, against the likelihood that veterans returning from Iraq or Afghanistan (which they’ve been doing since 2003 and 2002, respectively) would joint violent right-wing groups. Today, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano apologized to representatives of the American Legion for allowing the half-baked report to be sent out to law enforcement »

Try a different button, Hillary

On Wednesday, I cited a report in the Washington Post that the Israeli government has decided not to proceed with serious peace talks with Palestinians until it sees progress in U.S. efforts to stop Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons. Today, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that Israel does not regard stopping Iran as a precondition for efforts to make progress with the Palestinians, but that no agreement is possible »

Happy Debt Day!

Sunday is “Debt Day”: As of Sunday, the federal government has spent all the money it will raise in taxes for the current fiscal year. From now until the end of the fiscal year in the fall, the government will be spending money that it will borrow from the Chinese and others, which will be repaid by our children and grandchildren. With interest. This is the earliest Debt Day in »

The Baying Hounds of CNN

I almost never watch CNN except when I’m at airports. Then I often can’t help it, since CNN has bought the rights to broadcast from boxes at pretty much every gate in America. The worst is LaGuardia, where the CNN sets are turned up to an ear-splitting volume and there is no escape. That’s where I spent an hour or more at a gate this afternoon, listening unwillingly to CNN’s »

Portrait of a dupe

Ben Smith at Politico has posted a video of Samantha Power, during the campaign, assuring the Armenian-American community that of Barack Obama’s “willingness as president to commemorate [the Armenian genocide] and certainly to call a spade a spade and to speak truth about it.” Powers urges Armenian-Americans to “take my word for it. . .he’s a person who can actually be trusted, which distinguishes him from some in the Washington »