In my discussion with Jason Zengerle about Nidal Hasan’s killing of his fellow soldiers at Fort Hood, I insisted that “we need to know a little more than we do” before branding him a terrorist. Well, we still don’t know enough, and will certainly know more if and when Hasan goes to trial, but I think the latest reports on his contacts with Yemeni-American cleric Anwar al-Aulaqi point toward a conclusion, which is that he was not a terrorist. According to Washington Post reporter Spencer Hsu, Hasan, who had attended Aulaqi’s mosque eight years ago, reintroduced himself to the radical cleric a
I was struck by the question that Mark Penn asks in his column, “Turning to the left or the center?” What would public relations executive and former Clinton advisor Penn, who claims to represent the political center, have to say about the choices facing the Obama administration? Penn is no dummy, and I was not disappointed.
I got an email from an old friend, Joel Parker, who is an international vice president of the Transportation Communications Union, and one of the smartest people I know. It's a response to my article on anti-Statism in America that has been on the site today. I am reproducing it for its criticisms rather than its compliments, which bear not only on what I wrote but also on our continuing discussion of the health care bill. Just read your latest TNR piece on anti-government sentiment. I thought it was excellent, and agreed with its central point.
Who belongs to unions? It’s obvious, isn’t it--primarily, low-income, unskilled workers who, in the absence of unionization, would be collecting food stamps. Actually, that’s not an accurate picture, as a new report from Center for Economic and Policy Research shows. The report, written by John Schmitt and Kris Warner, shows that in the last twenty-five years, the proportion of unionized workers with college-degrees has gone from 20.4 to 37.5 percent. If you add workers who have attended but not graduated from college, you have 66.4 percent of the unionized workforce. Or to look at it in the
Anyone who has followed closely the debate over national health insurance has probably noticed some peculiar inconsistencies in Americans’ attitudes toward the legislation. A Pew Poll released on October 8 found “steady support” for specific elements of the health care plan, including the public alternative to private insurance, the employer mandate, and the requirement that everyone have insurance. Nonetheless, popular support for the plan itself was declining, with 34 percent “generally [in] favor” and 47 percent “generally opposed.” What accounts for this disparity?
When I clicked on Amazon this morning to find out about a book, I was informed that a book was about to appear that was tailor-made for my tastes: Going Rogue: An American Life by Sarah Palin. When I clicked on the button to “fix this recommendation,” I was informed that Amazon had recommended Palin’s book because I had once purchased Sanford Horwitt’s excellent biography of Saul Alinsky. OK, here is today’s contest: Sarah Palin is to Saul Alinsky as what or who is to what or who. You fill in the blanks. I spent ten minutes trying to do so, and gave up.
I had a friend visiting me this weekend who had fervently backed Barack Obama for President (against the “devil-woman” Hillary), but who now thinks Obama has betrayed his followers – most recently by agreeing to disastrous compromises in the health insurance bill.
Perhaps in responding to Jason, I wasn’t clear about why I don’t think we have grounds yet for calling Nidal Hassan’s act an act of terrorism. Let me try once more, and let me make one thing clear: I am not ruling out that it was, and I don’t require that he admit it was.
Jason Zengerle argues that if one calls Scott Roeder’s killing of abortion doctor George Tillman a terrorist act, then one has to call Nidal Hassan, who perpetrated the Fort Hood massacre, a terrorist because his actions were “motivated, in part, by religious and political views.” I don’t think I agree with Jason – at least given the evidence to date about Nidal Hassan’s motives. We don’t know yet what motivated Nidal Hassan – to say the same thing, what he hoped to accomplish by killing his fellow soldiers.
In the wake of defeats in New Jersey and Virginia, Democrats and the Obama administration are being advised to move to the center. I think the Republicans are well advised to take that advice, but I am not sure about the Democrats, and I am not sure what the "center" means in this case.