Author Archives: Paul Mirengoff

The United States — a nation of takers?

Featured image In a post about the inability of the German national soccer team to win tournaments recently, I wondered whether this failure had something to do with a change in the German ethos. But what about the American ethos? Has it changed? Recently, Nicholas Eberstadt, a distinguished scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, gave a talk in which he suggested that the work ethic in American may be declining as we »

The Obama administration — “foolish and feckless” about Syria

Featured image Hillary Clinton is the latest member of the Obama administration to play the fool when it comes to dealing with Russia over Syria. She joins President Obama, who was rendered almost speechless by Vladimir Putin after the Russian strongman contemptuously rejected Obama’s plea that Russia abandon its long-time ally, Bashar Assad. Clinton, if anything, has come across as even more of a dunce than Obama. A week ago, the Washington »

Toward which candidate is the electoral college biased?

Featured image I’m increasingly preoccupied with this year’s presidential race, yet I don’t spend much time (at least not yet) thinking about the electoral vote. The way I see it, the outcome in the Electoral College has varied from that indicated by the popular vote only once in my lifetime, and never did in the lifetimes of my parents and grandparents. So if Romney wins the popular vote, his odds of becoming »

Zombie economy threatens Obama

Featured image That’s the headline on Politico today. It’s a bit Obama-centric, but has a nice ring. So I stole it. President Obama, of course, is spinning the June jobs report, even though it capped the worst quarter for job creation in two years: We learned this morning that our business created 84,000 new jobs last month and that overall means that businesses have created 4.4 million new jobs over the past »

In Afghanistan, most roads lead to civil war

Featured image Dexter Filkins has lengthy article in the New Yorker about what likely is in store for Afghanistan once the U.S. completes the withdrawal of its combat troops. He writes: After eleven years, nearly two thousand Americans killed, sixteen thousand Americans wounded, nearly four hundred billion dollars spent, and more than twelve thousand Afghan civilians dead since 2007, the war in Afghanistan has come to this: the United States is leaving, »

Should Mitt Romney buy what Tom Rath is selling

Featured image The Washington Post reports that Mitt Romney plans to fortify his communications and messaging team by adding some veteran operatives. However, Romney apparently has no plans to change his inner circle. As longtime senior Romney senior aide Tom Rath put it: I don’t sense any panic. I don’t sense that any heads are going to roll. The idea that this guy at this point having gone through what he’s gone »

Hillary Clinton gives Pakistan an “apology” it accepts

Featured image After months of negotiations, Secretary of State Clinton has issued a statement of regret that satisfies Pakistan regarding the killing by U.S. forces of two dozen Pakistani soldiers in a cross-border fire fight. As a result, Pakistan will re-open the NATO supply line to Afghanistan. Here is the statement Clinton issued to Pakistan: I once again reiterated our deepest regrets for the tragic incident in Salala last November. I offered »

Is wishful thinking about the economy the key to Obama’s reelection chances?

Featured image A new CNN poll indicates that, by a 73-27 percent split, most Americans believe that the state of the American economy is poor rather than good. Yet, by a split of 60-39, most Americans believe the economy will be good in 2013. CNN polled “adult Americans” rather than registered or likely voters. However, given the nature of the question, the small number of non-registered respondents in the poll, and the »

Why doesn’t Germany win soccer tournaments anymore?

Featured image England soccer legend Gary Lineker once quipped: “Football is a simple game; 22 men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans always win.” But lately, the Germans haven’t been winning when it counts. In fact, their national team hasn’t won a World or European Cup since 1996. That’s a streak of zero for eight. For many a proud soccer nation, that streak wouldn’t be a »

Bernard Lewis remembers — Ted Kennedy visits Iran

Featured image I have previously recommended Bernard Lewis’s memoir, Notes on a Century, for its wonderful combination of insight and anecdote regarding life, the study of history, and the Middle East. The following anecdote is among my favorites: Sometime in the early 1970s at a time when I was in Tehran, Senator Kennedy suddenly arrived, unannounced and unexpected. The Shah was angry. He felt that a visit by a U.S. Senator, particularly »

Crony caplitalism, American capitalism, and the Fourth of July

Featured image From Elizabeth Spahn at the FCPA blog: Highly intelligent, sophisticated, successful. I think he was of Indian ancestry, or maybe Pakistani? A modern Canadian citizen; executive of a Fortune 10 corporation responsible for North American operations for the British based corporation, first in its market position. He is a major player. “Crony Capitalism.” Isn’t that what American capitalism is? We were into our third glass of very fine red wine »

Our manufacturing sector takes a hit

Featured image Data released by the Institute for Supply Management shows that the U.S. manufacturing sector contracted in June. This is the first such contraction in more than three years. According to the report accompanying the data, businesses had solid sales in June, but believe future demand will decline and thus have cut back on new orders. The belief that demand will decline is based mainly on expectations regarding Europe and China. »

Why Romney remains politically well-situated on Obamacare

Featured image Over the weekend, the Romney campaign endorsed the view that the Obamacare mandate does not impose a tax. This, of course, is President’s Obama’s campaign position, though not the position his lawyers took before the Supreme Court. Scott says Romney’s position shows, among other things, that he is not the ideal candidate to don the mantle of opposition to Obamacare. That’s true, and always been true. Because Romney imposed an »

The Obamacare decision as the “Compromise of 2012″? – let’s hope not

Featured image Rumor has it that Chief Justice Roberts changed his vote in the Obamacare case. Even if he did, that leaves open the question of why. Most observers think he changed it for political reasons. For example Charles Lane compares Roberts’ decision to the Compromise of 1850 about which Roberts wrote as a student in an award winning history paper on Daniel Webster. But it is also possible that Roberts changed »

Spain reigns, Part Two

Featured image Spain finally delivered the masterful performance we have been waiting for in a commanding 4-0 victory over a good Italian side. With the win, Spain can claim to be the best European national team in history. No team has ever won back to back Euros, none has ever won back to back to back big national tournaments, and few have ever put on a better display in a Final than »

Euro 2012, Spain reigns

Featured image I have been prevented from blogging by the Washington DC power outage. But I know that John is dying for update on Euro 2012. So here goes. There have been two matches since my last report. In the first, Italy upset Germany 2 to 1. It looked like a case of the Italians simply wanting it more. Germany attached with menace early, but the match turned when Cassano outfought two »

The Blind Sheikh and the blind president

Featured image Tom Joscelyn informs us that the new Egyptian president, Mohamed Morsi, told a fired-up crowd in Tahir Square that he will work to free Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, aka the “Blind Sheikh.” Rahman is currently serving a life sentence in a U.S. prison for his role in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and a follow-on plot against New York City landmarks. Tom’s article includes some of Morsi’s other greatest »