Monthly Archives: April 2009

A not so great debate

The Washington Post reports on the debate within Obama’s “inner circle” about whether to release the interrogation details in four top secret memos. According to the Post, by the end it literally was a debate, high school style, with one official selected to argue the “affirmative” and another the “negative.” The Post’s report may not be accurate and complete, but if it is, the striking thing about the debate was »

Voters Unimpressed By Dems’ “Torture” Theme

A new Rasmussen survey suggests that the Democrats are barking up the wrong tree with their obsessive interest in the waterboarding of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. At this point, at least, common sense reigns: * 58 percent of voters say the Obama administration’s recent release of DOJ memos “endangers the national security of the United States.” Fewer than half as many 28 percent, think it “helps America’s image abroad.” (This suggests »

Dueling Narratives

We haven’t weighed in on the controversy surrounding Rep. Jane Harman’s alleged agreement–ostensibly captured on a wiretap–to try to help Larry Franklin, Steve Rosen and Kenneth Weissman, who were charged with crimes in connection with Franklin’s leak of classified information about Iranian activity in Kurdistan. The case is, as David Frum writes, “almost insanely complicated.” But on Frum’s telling, “the deeper you delve into the details, the more you see »

Wounds that a letter and a visit cannot repair

Yesterday, I posted the text of a letter from Dennis Blair to members of the “intelligence community.” The letter is an extraordinary document. Indeed, the very fact that it was written is extraordinary. Blair cites two developments that prompted his letter: (1) President Obama’s decision to release Justice Department documents that “spell[] out in detail harsh interrogation techniques used by CIA officers on suspected al Qaida terrorists” and (2) an »

“Hang one, warn a thousand”

That’s the title of T.J. Rodgers’ excellent piece about Dartmouth College’s decision to boot his fellow trustee Todd Zywicki off of the Board of Trustees. As Rodgers puts it: “the Dartmouth Board of Trustees hanged Todd Zywicki ’88, thus warning the petition trustees — and any others tempted to express independent views — not to cross the party line.” Dartmouth students don’t seem to think much of the Board’s decision »

Chu Eats Dirt

At The Corner, Iain Murray reproduces this wonderful dialogue between Obama’s Energy Secretary, Steven Chu, and Congressman Cliff Stearns, in a House hearing yesterday: REP. CLIFF STEARNS, R-Fla.: Last September you made a statement that somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe, which at the time exceeded $8 a gallon. As Secretary of Energy, will you speak for or »

Another 4-4 classic

Add Tuesday’s 4-4 draw between Arsenal and Liverpool to the list of 4-4 soccer classics. Liverpool fought back several times, including a goal just before the end of “stoppage” time, to salvage the draw. However, the Shite’s failure to win represents a huge, and possibly fatal, blow to their championship hopes. LIverpool has been involved in three of the most memorable 4-4 classics, and in each case would have been »

Operation Cast Lead explained

Yesterday the IDF released a brief animated video as part of the recap of the conclusions of investigations into the Gaza operation earlier this year, illustrating the terrorist tactics that Hamas employed. Run time is slightly more than five minutes. The video provides background on the IDF’s Operation Cast Lead, depicting the terrorist tactics that Hamas employed in the war. It shows how Hamas smuggles in weaponry in order to »

Uncle Sam and the perils of ownership

The government’s large stake in banks including J.P. Morgan and Citibank gives rise to a basic conflict of interest when the government seeks to extract concessions from them as secured lenders in the auto bailout. How is the government resolving the conflict in the negotiations over Chrysler’s restructuring and possible integration with Fiat? The government appears to be acting as an advocate of Chrysler in its negotiations with the banks, »

In dreams

Today is the anniversary of the birth of Roy Orbison. “In Dreams” was the hit that launched Orbison’s comeback when David Lynch used it on the soundtrack in “Blue Velvet.” Dreams — dreams shattered, dreams haunted, dreams fulfilled — also provided the thematic material to which Orbison applied his operatic voice in the ballads and other songs that made him a star in the early 1960’s: “Only the Lonely,” “Running »

An excellent strategy if Israel can stick to it

Benjamin Netanyahu’s government is said to have decided that it will not move ahead on serious peace talks with Palestinians until it sees progress in U.S. efforts to stop Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons. This is statecraft at its best. First, Israel’s approach is consistent with its interests. For Israel, Iran’s progress on the nuclear front is the most pressing problem; resolving issues with the Palestinians is of much less »

Living In A World Gone Mad

Barack Obama has now changed his mind and, going back on the main theme of his election campaign–post-partisanship! What a joke–says that Eric Holder will decide whether to prosecute Justice Department lawyers for writing legal opinions that Eric Holder now disagrees with. (I’m curious to see what criminal statute they will claim the DOJ lawyers violated. To my knowledge, authoring a legal analysis with which Eric Holder disagrees is not »

The Apology Tour: What’s the Point?

At Contentions, Peter Wehner makes some excellent points about Barack Obama’s world-wide apology tour: [W]hat Obama has engaged in is more than an “occasional confession”; apology is, in fact, a centerpiece of his approach. He has spent an unprecedented amount of time as President giving voice to grievances of both allies and adversaries over America. And when he’s not himself confirming those criticisms, he is showing himself less than eager »

DNC communications director assures skeptical europeans that the U.S. still has far to go on race

Karen Finney, director of communications for the Democratic National Committee, recently met in France with “young leaders” who are “of color.” According to her report, these young minority Frenchmen and women were of the view that, given the election of Barack Obama, the U.S. had moved beyond the serious racial problems of the past. That would seem to be a reasonable view; a nation that has serious problems with race »

Dennis Blair’s not so assuring assurances

Below is the text of a letter of April 16, 2009 from Dennis Blair to members of the “intelligence community.” The letter deserves comment, which I hope to provide later today. Dear Colleagues: Today is a difficult one for those of us who serve the country in its intelligence services. An article in the front page of the New York Times claims that the National Security Agency has been collecting »

Somali Piracy: The Minnesota Connection

One might think that a Somali pirate, captured in the Indian Ocean and brought to the United States to stand trial, would be without friends, allies and financial supporters in this country. But no: it turns out that a veritable Pirates’ Aid Society exists, right here in Minnesota. We’ve written about the connections between the Somali community here in the Twin Cities (the nation’s largest) and Somali terrorists. Similarly, local »

The dogs bark and the caravan moves on

Roger Simon reports from Geneva that the UN’s Durban II anti-Semitic hatefest has closed early. The circus is moving out of town: At 4PM Geneva time, the United Nations and its High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay announced that the responsible committee (hard to know exactly who that is) had approved the final outcome statement of the Durban Review Conference. The odd thing is – it’s Tuesday and the »