When the media reported last week that President Obama had turned down a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu—which was followed, according to the New York Times, by a reverse-snub when Bibi insisted that he hadn’t also been denied a meeting in Washington, because he never even wanted one in the first place—it was only the latest uncomfortable chapter in the two leaders’ cringing pseudo-courtship. For four years, their encounters have been playing out with all the grace of a star-crossed, seventh-grade romance.
Whether or not Mitt Romney’s multiple gaffes in London end up hurting his presidential campaign, they’re a good opportunity to remember that political skirmishes have always been part of the world’s premier international sporting event. Which should come as no surprise: Given that the athletics are themselves considered displays of national prowess, it’s only natural that they become proxies for grander geopolitical struggles. But which events would compete for the gold (so to speak) for most outlandish Olympics political conflict ever?
Cohn and others are taking care of the heavy lifting here at TNR in responding to the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Affordable Care Act.
A front page story in yesterday’s New York Times quoted Hervé Ladsous, the head of United Nations peacekeeping operations, opining that the violence in Syria had descended into “civil war.” The same story, however, points out that “opposition leaders are wary of the term civil war because it suggests that the conflict is somehow an even match”; meanwhile, the Assad regime is still holding fast to its story that the violence is nothing more than the product of terrorists. So, which is it? Is Syria in a civil war or not? The answer, it turns out, is maybe.
The latest assault on abortion rights is taking place in Tennessee, where a new law that goes into effect on July 1 will require abortion providers to register at local hospitals. Though it seems mundane and bureaucratic, the law is actually part of an increasingly successful strategy for quietly destroying access to abortion. The Tennessee bill, called the Life Defense Act of 2012, would require every Tennessee practitioner who performs abortions to be a member of a local hospital.
The explosive exchange between Greek politicians earlier this week—peaking with Ilias Kasidiaris of the far-right Golden Dawn party throwing water on one of his female opponents before slugging another—was certainly jarring. But it’s hardly an isolated example of politicians forgoing verbal sparring for the satisfaction of the real thing. In fact, it’s not even exceptional. So what kinds of outbursts put this shameful, and completely inexcusable bout of violence to, well, shame?
There is no shortage of good reasons to oppose the proposed amendment to North Carolina’s constitution that would ban gay marriage in the state. There’s the matter, for instance, of its inherent bigotry, not to mention its essential redundancy (the state already banned gay marriage in 1996.) But in the run-up to the decisive May 8 vote, a burgeoning grassroots movement in North Carolina is offering an entirely different justification for opposing Amendment One.