Christmas

Louis D. Brandeis: A Life By Melvin I. Urofsky (Pantheon, 955 pp., $40) I. In 1916, Herbert Croly, the founder and editor of The New Republic, wrote to Willard Straight, the owner of the magazine, about the Supreme Court nomination of Louis Brandeis. Croly enclosed a draft editorial called “The Motive of Class Consciousness,” and also a chart prepared by a lawyer in Brandeis’s office showing the overlapping financial interests, social and business connections, and directorships of fifty-two prominent Bostonians who had signed a petition opposing Brandeis’s nomination.

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We're featuring a beautiful essay by Rabih Alameddine on our home page this morning. It's about World Cup preparations in Beirut--and really about the primary reasons that we love this game. Here's the first graf: In early April, silly flags were already flapping all around Beirut. A non-resident would think that dignitaries from the entire United Nations were about to make an appearance, adding a touch of color to our city. According to numerous sources, the flags had sprouted much earlier. As early as January, my sister made sure to tell me.

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In early April, silly flags were already flapping all around Beirut. A non-resident would think that dignitaries from the entire United Nations were about to make an appearance, adding a touch of color to our city. According to numerous sources, the flags had sprouted much earlier. As early as January, my sister made sure to tell me. I don’t think any earlier than that, my mother said. People were too busy with Christmas and New Years, and in 2009, Ashura, the Shiite holiday fell at the same time—far too much going on for anyone to concentrate.

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The dispatch is from Reuters. And the dateline is Wonderland. Flush with success in turning Iran away from nukes and Syria away from Tehran, the administration seems to be setting its sights on turning Hezbollah away from Hezbollah. If this is truly the goal of the administration, look for an another spectacular humiliation. No, worse: It will be a spectacular self-abasement. After all, there’s no evidence that the Lebanese terror fraternity is looking to become mild and modest.

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A dazzling essay by Fouad Ajami in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal made the point, apropos Faisal Shahzad, that the bestowal of citizenship “gave him the precious gift of an American passport but made no demands on him.” It also allowed him to travel 13 times to Pakistan and back over the last seven years—just one exemplar of the hundreds of thousands (more likely millions) of youngish men who have both domicile and liberties in the West but burn with fire for the perilous fevers of the Old Country.

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It turns out my joking concept of a libertarian Christmas was envisioned a few years ago by John Scalzi, who wrote "The 10 Least Successful Holiday Specials Of All Time." Number 3: Ayn Rand’s A Selfish Christmas (1951) In this hour-long radio drama, Santa struggles with the increasing demands of providing gifts for millions of spoiled, ungrateful brats across the world, until a single elf, in the engineering department of his workshop, convinces Santa to go on strike.

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Reason editor Nick Gillespie asks, "Do you remember when you were a kid, and your parents gave you $20 to buy them a Christmas present? You would buy them something worth $3 and you would pocket the rest." Yeah! And you remember when you were a teenager, and you killed your neighbor's dog, and turned the dog's carcass into sausage, and then gave the sausages to your neighbor as a present and told them it was venison? Wait, you didn't do that? Actually, I didn't either. Nor did I celebrate traditional holidays by stealing from my parents. What kind of person would do that?

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They say victory has a hundred fathers and defeat is an orphan. Somebody should tell that to al Qaeda: A top Pakistani Taliban commander took credit for yesterday's failed car bomb attack in New York City. Qari Hussain Mehsud, the top bomb maker for the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, said he takes "fully responsibility for the recent attack in the USA." Qari Hussain made the claim on an audiotape accompanied by images that was released on a YouTube website that calls itself the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan News Channel. Rushing to take credit for a bungled attack is fairly pathetic.

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I take it is a relief that, aside from its rhetorical pandering to the civil libertarian absolutists who can’t seem to grasp that Muslim terror networks are in a worldwide war with the United States and its remaining allies, the Obama administration is actually extending the life of the Bush presidency in its defense against jihad. Eli Lake, who is among the most discerning journalists on the intelligence beat, has written an analysis in Reason on where—or, rather, how little—the Obami have deviated from Bush guidelines. When it comes to the legal framework for confronting terrorism, President

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Labor And Obama

A few weeks ago, John Judis wrote an excellent piece about how Republicans reversed earlier support and decided to block Craig Becker, President Obama's appointment to the National Labor Relations Board: When the nominations came before the committee last October, Enzi and Alaska Republican Lisa Murkowski joined Democrats to send the slate to the Senate floor by a vote of 15-8.

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