Isaac Chotiner

Newspaper reports from Zimbabwe generally do not have the power to shock us anymore, but read this from today's New York Times: Zimbabwean authorities confiscated a truck loaded with 20 tons of American food aid for poor schoolchildren and ordered that the wheat and pinto beans aboard be handed out to supporters of President Robert Mugabe at a political rally instead. It's an excellent piece, particularly this surreal back-and-forth, which apears to be almost directly lifted from Evelyn Waugh's Scoop: The food aid that was confiscated was on a truck that began its rounds last Thursday, but th


Maureen Dowd has a good column today on the Barack-Michelle relationship, and the attacks sure to come Michelle's way. That being said--and I have only anecdotal evidence to support this contention--I think a lot of people on the left are much too concerned by the thought of the GOP going negative on the potential First Lady. As Dick Morris recently pointed out, the infamous 1992 GOP convention was full of attacks on Hillary Clinton that did the Republicans absolutely no good in November.


Mccain's Faith

The front page New York Times piece on the trouble McCain is having with conservative evangelicals has this interesting tidbit: Unlike Mr. Bush, Mr. McCain is decidedly reticent about religion on the stump. Mr. McCain grew up Episcopalian and shifted to a Baptist church after marrying his second wife, Cindy, but has not been baptized into the denomination. When asked about his personal faith at town hall forums, he often relates a familiar story. When Mr.


The best feud in Hollywood has just gotten uglier. It all started when Spike Lee complained that Clint Eastwood's 2006 World War II dramas--Flags of Our Fathers and Letters From Iwo Jima--did not show any black soldiers. Eastwood responded by saying that the people who raised the flag over Iwo Jima (the subject of Flags) were all white, and added that Lee had complained about Eastwood directing the Charlie Parker biopic Bird back in 1988: "He was complaining when I did Bird.  Why would a white guy be doing that? I was the only guy who made it, that's why. He could have gone ahead and made it.


David Greenberg writes: Despite what you may have heard, there is nothing slow or delayed about Hillary Clinton's decision to wait until Saturday to formally concede the Democratic nomination--at least as a historical matter.  He then goes on to provide historical examples of Democrats waiting to concede. The problem is that these examples are beside the point. A few comments: 1. I don't know the exact circumstances surrounding the examples Greenberg mentions, but I am not sure exactly what he is arguing. Were the examples he cites bad for Democratic Party unity?


I had coffee today with two foreigners who were excited by Barack Obama's victory in the Democratic primary on Tuesday. One of them had spent a couple of years living here in America, while the other had only visited a few times. Both were pleasantly surprised that--given the prevalence of racism in this country--a black man was now the odds-on favorite to win the presidency. Neither could quite grasp how this could be so, and the reason for that, I think, is that both of them were incorrectly evaluating the American scene.


A Total Disgrace

Maybe Clinton will endorse Obama tomorrow, in which case this post will be moot, but her speech tonight has been combative and petty (mentioning the states she won, saying the primaries ended in South Dakota, not Montana, claiming a popular vote win), with scant praise for the Democratic nominee. If Clinton wants people to believe that she cares more about the Democratic Party than her own career, she is failing badly. --Isaac Chotiner 

Mccain's Speech

Excerpt here. Interestingly, he is presenting Obama as a tool of special interests. I've always thought the problem with certain McCain speeches--this one included--is that he seems so unenthused when giving them. He keeps repeating the line, "That's not change we can believe in," but his tone and smile suggest that he finds the line to be, well, somewhat lame. That being said, there is no denying the contempt he has for Obama's talk of shaking up Washington. --Isaac Chotiner 

The best line from the NYT's excellent front page piece on media control in Putin's Medvedev's Russia: Senior government officials deny the existence of a stop list, saying that people hostile to the Kremlin do not appear on TV simply because their views are not newsworthy. --Isaac Chotiner 

Clinton To Exit?

Ambinder looks for hints--and notices a few. --Isaac Chotiner