Monthly Archives: December 2009

Why Obama pretends

DIck Cheney nails Barack Obama’s weirdly detached response to the Christmas attack on the Northwest/Delta flight. Politico has his statement: As I’ve watched the events of the last few days it is clear once again that President Obama is trying to pretend we are not at war. He seems to think if he has a low key response to an attempt to blow up an airliner and kill hundreds of »

William Katz: The Tonight Show, part 4

Occasional contributor Bill Katz holds down the fort at Urgent Agenda. Today he continues his series of reminiscences about Johnny Carson and the Tonight Show: Ed McMahon died in 2009. His death attracted maybe five percent of the attention given to Michael Jackson’s. The reason was clear: It had been 17 years since Ed had last introduced Johnny Carson with “Heeere’s Johnny!” As Johnny himself used to say, “How quickly »

Government Medicine: Poison at the Polls

No wonder the Democrats have to bribe their own Senators and Congressmen to vote for Obamacare: all poll data indicate that the measure (whatever it is at the moment) is deeply unpopular, and the latest numbers from Nebraska suggest that anyone who votes for government medicine, representing other than a deep-blue state, is in serious trouble. Rasmussen polled Nebraska voters in a matchup between Ben Nelson, who supplied the decisive »

The limits of “calibration”

For the most part, the first year of the Obama administration has proceeded about as I expected it to. The president has been a bit less aggressive in pushing a liberal domestic agenda and a bit more aggressive in promoting an America-effacing foreign policy than I thought he would be. However, the deviation from expectations has not been significant. Perhaps the single biggest surprise for me is the emerging sense, »

Creme de la Prem — the all decade team

Soccernet has named its all-decade English Premier League team. It’s not easy to put such a team together, and the results will always be controversial. However, the following selections seem pretty reasonable to me: GK – Shay Given RB – Gary Neville LB – Ashley Cole CB – Rio Ferdinand CB – John Terry DM – Patrick Vieira CM – Steven Gerrard CM – Paul Scholes LW – Ryan Giggs »

Obama and the Iranian protesters — mutuality of interests but not of spirit, Part Two

President Obama took a step in the right direction yesterday when he condemned “the violent and unjust suppression of innocent Iranian citizens” and called for “the immediate release of all who have been unjustly detained.” However, Obama seemed to stop short of a more meaningful position when he expressed his “confidence that history will be on the side of those who seek justice.” This may be a nice turn of »

A call for clarification

Dan Diker’s Jerusalem Post column refers to the IDF’s termination with extreme prejudice of three wanted Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades terrorists in Nablus. The Obama administration has reportedly called on Israel’s National Security Adviser Uzi Arad to explain to his American counterparts the defensive nature of the IDF operation several days after the Iranian-backed terror cell’s murder of Rabbi Meir Chai, a father of seven. Diker reasonably argues that it is »

I, Sniper: A word from Stephen Hunter

Stephen Hunter is the Pulitzer Prize-winning former chief film critic of the Washington Post. Steve’s most recent collection of film criticism is Now Playing at the Valencia. In July Steve provided us his take on one of the best movies I saw this year. Steve is also the author of best-selling suspense novels (collected on Amazon here) that include his series featuring Bob Lee Swagger. Today is the publication date »

Obama and the Iranian protesters — mutuality of interests but not of spirit

Iranian protesters were in the streets of Tehran and several other cities this weekend. That they were protesting at all is significant. There had been little such acitivity during the fall. But what’s more significant is the nature of the latest round of protests. According to the Washington Post, the demonstrators, who numbered in the tens of thousands, “fought back with unusual force, kicking and punching police officers and torching »

We’re not the grinch after all, Part Two

In my post about the impact of Jews on the celebration of Christmas, I suggested that Jews have “led the charge to limit public celebration of this great religious holiday.” The distinguished historian John Steele Gordon responded that “it has always seemed to me that it was not Jews but atheists (a religion of its own in that it is a belief system that is untestable) who have led the »

Lawyers at war

The inability of commanders in the field to provide their troops with clear instructions has been a chronic problem throughout the history of warfare. Battles have been lost as a result. Generals Grant and Sherman are often singled out for their ability during the Civil War to give exceptionally clear orders, and some of their success has been attributed to this skill. (Sherman’s clarity carried over into the field of »

What Went Wrong?

As more information comes to light about Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, questions about why he was allowed to fly to the U.S. without any sort of screening continue to multiply. The Associated Press reports this morning: A U.S. official in Washington said [Abdulmutallab's] father’s concerns were shared among those in the embassy, including liaison personnel from other agencies based there, such as the FBI. The alert was then relayed to Washington »

In which the Strib arrives late to the case

Elected in November 2000, Mark Dayton served as Minnesota’s United States Senator from 2001-2007. While in office he distinguished himself with erratic behavior including the closure of his Senate office in October 2004. Having been named by Time as one of the five worst Senators, Dayton did not seek reelection to the Senate when his term expired. He is nevertheless now seeking the Democratic nomination to run for Minnesota governor, »

What a mess

Earlier this month, the Washington Post reported that the administration’s delay in formulating a new strategy for Afghanistan was caused in part by confusion over the mission. President Obama had given Gen. McChrystal one concept of the mission in March, McChrystal had developed a new strategy based on that mission over the summer, but the White House opted in September for a new, somewhat different concept of the mission. Thus, »

Baucus: Was He Drunk, Or Is He Stupid?

This video of Democratic Senator Max Baucus during the debate on the Democrats’ health care takeover is all over the web. Most observers say that Baucus was drunk. We report, you decide: I claim no expertise in this area beyond normal human observation, but, for what it’s worth, I would say that he was drunk, but is an experienced drinker and was not terribly impaired. What is most interesting to »

The System? It’s You!

Janet Napolitano’s appearance on CNN this morning, in which she tried to put a happy face on the fact that a known terrorist sympathizer got onto a flight bound for America and nearly brought it down, has been widely and justly derided: NAPOLITANO: What we are focused on is making sure that the air environment remains safe, that people are confident when they travel. And one thing I’d like to »

Hillary Clinton — wrong time, wrong place

Earlier this month, I noted that “democracy” is not among “the three Ds” — “defense, development and diplomacy” — that Hillary Clinton says, in one of her stock speeches, animate the administration’s concept of global leadership. In other words, “democracy” does not even “medal” within its own letter. The editors of the Washington Post have noticed this too. They have also noticed that Clinton appeared to change her tune in »