Isaac Chotiner

Stop The Presses: Obama Is Black!
August 02, 2008

Stanley Kurtz, classy as ever, has the following critical appraisal of Barack Obama's Chicago days in this week's Weekly Standard: Any rounded treatment of Obama's early political career has got to give prominence to the issue of race. Obama has recently made efforts to preemptively blunt discussion of the race issue, warning that his critics will highlight the fact that he is African American.

Great Writers And Anti-semitism
August 02, 2008

Adam Gopnik's essay on the English writer G.K. Chesterton is, alas, not online. But here is Gopnik on Chesterton's anti-Semitism: The insistence that Chesterton's anti-Semitism needs to be understood "in the context of his time" defines the problem, because his time-from the end of the Great War to the mid-thirties-was the time that led to the extermination of the European Jews. In that context, his jocose stuff is even more sinister than his serious stuff.

And You Thought People Hated President Bush!
August 01, 2008

A new YouGov survey from the UK shows British Prime Minister Gordon Brown with approval ratings that even our own incumbent president would look down on: Barely one voter in seven believes he is fit for the job of prime minister, the YouGov survey indicates. The Tories are on 47 per cent and Labour is on 25 per cent, a 22-point lead that would give Mr Cameron a landslide victory at a general election.

A Portrait Of An Artest As A Crazy Man
July 31, 2008

All of the us stalwart Houston Rockets fans were heartened by the exciting news that NBA bad boy Ron Artest, star of the sport's worst ever brawl in Detroit a few years back, has joined the team. The reason to cheer is that Artest is a phenomenally talented basketball player and defensive specialist who will allow Houston to compete for an NBA championship next year. Usually when a new player joins a team, his new teammates embrace him with smiles and open arms, even if he is completely insane--as Artest happens to be.

Ted Stevens Indicted
July 29, 2008

Reuters is reporting that Alaska Republican Senator Ted Stevens was indicted on seven counts "related to his holding of public office." What's more: The U.S. Justice Department has scheduled a news conference for 1:20 p.m. to make an announcement "regarding a significant criminal matter."  Stevens is in a close--and closely watched--Senate race with Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich.

Richard Cohen's Very Bad Column
July 29, 2008

Those of us who dutifully trudge through Richard Cohen's Washington Post column every Tuesday do so for one reason above all others: Once in a great many days, Cohen's work surpasses its usual astonishing incoherence and registers instead as humorously incoherent. And, blessed that some of us are, today is such a day. Cohen begins by asking: "Just tell me one thing Barack Obama has done that you admire," I asked a prominent Democrat. He paused and then said that he admired Obama's speech to the Democratic convention in 2004. I agreed.

President Bush Is Batman. Really.
July 24, 2008

  Or, rather, Batman is President Bush.  From Andrew Klavan in tomorrow's Wall Street Journal (I am not making this up): A cry for help goes out from a city beleaguered by violence and fear: A beam of light flashed into the night sky, the dark symbol of a bat projected onto the surface of the racing clouds . . . Oh, wait a minute. That's not a bat, actually. In fact, when you trace the outline with your finger, it looks kind of like . . .

O'reilly Quote Of The Day
July 23, 2008

Bill O'Reilly:  In hindsight, Obama was correct about entering Iraq and wrong about the surge. So he's batting .500 on the issue. John McCain was correct that the war was fought ineptly for years and correct about the surge. So he's batting 750. The one strikeout for McCain and for most of us was going into Iraq in the first place. (Thanks to reader F.T.) --Isaac Chotiner 

The Lesson To Be Learned Now That America's Gone 'dark Knight' Mad
July 19, 2008

The numbers are in, at least for Friday: The new Batman flick grossed an astonishing $66 million yesterday. According to biz expert Nikki Finke, the film is likely to gross over $150 million by the end of the weekend. 'Iron Man' and 'Indiana Jones 4' had been the summer's two biggest hits, but now it appears likely--if not certain--that 'The Dark Knight' will be the biggest film of the year.

The Democratic Party As Seen Through The Lens Of Seinfeld
July 18, 2008

Seinfeld fans will fondly recall George's constant refrain after he decides--on a whim--to propose marriage to a woman he does not much like, let alone love. "We had a pact," he yells at his best friend, Jerry, who promised George to also undergo the "maturation process" and get hitched.  This is a long-winded way of saying that when I read Daniel Bergner's New York Times Magazine feature on Leah Daughtry, I felt compelled to scream "We had a pact!" more than once. Daughtry is a preacher and political operative currently working as chief of staff to DNC head Howard Dean.