Monthly Archives: May 2011

Summer of Our Discontent

Cities tend to blow hot and cold when it comes to sports. Sometimes a city is hot, and several of its teams are contenders at once. Other times a city is cold, and losing almost seems contagious. These days, the Twin Cities are in a deep freeze, sports-wise. The Vikings were 6-10 last year and face a long rebuilding process. The Timberwolves (if you haven’t heard of them, they play »

Who Is Winning the Spending War?

In the past, as federal debt grew the debt ceiling grew with it. Congressional votes to increase the debt limit were routine and always passed, with some members of the “out” party–like Barack Obama–voting against increasing the limit as a form of political theater. Not many months ago, the Democrats were confident that the same thing would happen this year. Tim Geithner et al. have gone on television to warn »

Syria’s 13-Year-Old Martyr

The rebellion in Syria goes on, without much press coverage since reporters have been banned from the country. Still, YouTube remains a means of communication. On April 29, 13-year-old Hamza Ali al-Khateeb was picked up by Syria’s security forces in Jiza. His family waited for word of his fate for a month; finally, his body was returned. Hamza had been horrifically tortured, to the extent that it was impossible to »

Deep Weiner

The case of Rep. Anthony Weiner is worth pursuing if only to resist the double standard that would allow him to brush it off with this obvious bit of stonewalling: A day after hiring a lawyer to look into the online mini-drama now dubbed “Weinergate,” Rep. Anthony Weiner said that he wants to move on. “I’m going to return to working on the things I care about,” the New York »

“Human Kind Cannot Bear Very Much Reality”

I took the weekend off from blogging here and elsewhere to enjoy my annual outing at the beach in California with my best pals from high school and college–something we’ve been doing on or around Memorial Day for 22 years in a row now. We’ve even gotten to the t-shirt phase (see below). It’s really become just an excuse for our own reality cooking show. So back to business. I »

When Kennedy blinked

In the 2008 presidential campaign Barack Obama served up President Kennedy’s conference with Khrushchev in Vienna in June 1961 as support for his thought that it would be a good idea for the president to meet unconditionally with leaders of the Iranian regime. As is so often the case when it comes to history, however, Obama didn’t know what he was talking about. By all accounts — and I mean »

Power Line Prize Update

The countdown continues on the Power Line Prize: $100,000 to whoever comes up with the most effective, creative way to dramatize the significance of the federal debt crisis. The winning entry could be a video, a song, a poem, a painting, anything. It could focus on the debt crisis as a whole, or maybe a specific aspect of it, like the role played by unsustainable entitlements, or the massive waste »

America the Beautiful

Ray Charles’s magnificent version of “America the Beautiful” reminds us that it is a perfect song for Memorial Day. In order to overcome the familiarity that prevents us from hearing the words of such songs, Charles begins with the song’s relatively unknown third verse on martial sacrifice: O beautiful for heroes proved In liberating strife, Who more than self the country loved And mercy more than life! America! America! May »

The Human Factor

Rep. Anthony Weiner asserts that his Twitter account was hacked to send a lewd picture to a young Seattle undergraduate. The New York Post arrives today with a story that provides the salient details in mercifully abbreviated form in its “Weiner roast” cover story. Glenn Reynolds has provided so many Weinergate updates that I’m beginning to suspect he enjoys the story, as I do, although it’s a guilty pleasure, at »

The subversive president

In Caroline Glick’s Jerusalem Post column on Prime Minister Netanyahu’s close encounter with President Obama last week, we find this condensed account of the challenge raised by Obama’s leadership style: Obama’s leadership model is the model of subversive leadership. Subversive leaders in democracies do not tell their citizens where they wish to lead their societies. They hide their goals from their citizens, because they understand that their citizens do not »

Origins of Memorial Day

Harry Truman famously observed that the only thing new is history you don’t know. Yale history professor David Blight delivers the news about the origins of Memorial Day in the excellent New York Times op-ed column “Forgetting why we remember.” It’s a story that Professor Blight has been telling for nearly ten years, dating back nearly a decade to his column “The first Decoration Day.” According to Professor Blight, “For »

Introducing Tim Pawlenty

Virtually every pundit describes Tim Pawlenty as one of the few serious candidates for the GOP presidential nomination. Yet, as he points out in the video clip below, his name recognition among Republicans nationwide is only around 50 percent. Of the half who at least know who he is, most haven’t really seen him perform. So, if you are one of those who know who Pawlenty is, but have only »

Happy Memorial Day

Michael Ramirez, on the meaning of Memorial Day; click to enlarge: »

Weiner’s Wiener

No doubt you are aware of the story surrounding Rep. Anthony Weiner’s tweeted photo of himself in his undershorts, which was sent to a young woman in Seattle but published, apparently inadvertently, on Weiner’s public Twitter stream. Or maybe the photo wasn’t of Weiner; he says his Twitter account was hacked. I haven’t seen the photo, but it is described as “lewd.” A great deal of energy has been expended »

Were Quotas Inherent In Civil Rights Legislation From the Beginning?

Scott wrote here about Hubert Humphrey and his support for civil rights legislation that may or may not have been color-blind. A long-time reader with world-class expertise in this area of the law writes: It is questionable whether Humphrey opposed quotas on principle even in 1964, when he so forcefully insisted that the Civil Rights Act he was sponsoring would not permit them. Humphrey’s assurances were necessary to win support »

She Can’t Do That!

Years ago, I tried a case against a lawyer who was a friend from college. After it was all over, he told me that at one point I had asked a witness a question and gotten an answer that outraged the associate who was trying the case with him. The associate leaned over and whispered, “He can’t do that!” To which my friend replied, “He just did.” As in law, »

Another Step in the Infantilization of Humanity

This is one of the dumbest, and yet most ominous, of recent headlines: Italian Seismologists Charged With Manslaughter for Not Predicting 2009 Quake. Of course, no one can predict earthquakes. No matter: Enzo Boschi, the president of Italy’s National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV), will face trial along with six other scientists and technicians, after failing to predict the future and the impending disaster. Earthquakes are, of course, nearly »