"I misinterpreted the question. I thought that I answered it yes when I should have answered it no. I didn't hear it." --GOP presidential candidate Tommy Thompson, revising his answer to a question about whether business owners should be able to fire gay employees--a position he had initially described as something "I really, sincerely believe." --Michael Crowley
by Casey BlakeDavid Brooks was delighted by the response he received when he popped the Reinhold Niebuhr question to Barack Obama a week or so ago. "I love him." Obama said. "He's one of my favorite philosophers." Needless to say, Brooks was impressed. "So I asked, What do you take away from him?" "I take away," Obama answered in a rush of words, "the compelling idea that there's serious evil in the world, and hardship and pain. And we should be humble and modest in our belief we can eliminate those things. But we shouldn't use that as an excuse for cynicism and inaction. I take away ...
Ramesh Ponnuru says I'm being unfair and that the White House opposes the hate-crimes bill because of concerns over federalism, not because the bill would add sexual orientation to the list of protected categories. That might well be true. In the past, people like Barney Frank have claimed that the GOP leadership scuttled versions of the bill mainly because they included protections for gays and lesbians, but hey, it's possible that Frank's wrong and they really were doing so out of a principled concern for federalism.
Martin Peretz praises the vision and analysis of Fouad Ajami; read recent pieces by Ajami here (a review for TNR of Ali Allawi's book on the occupation) and here (an essay for The Wall Street Journal on Iraq); David Fontana argues that Hamdan v. Rumsfeld has been a major disappointment for liberals; David A. Bell handicaps Nicolas Sarkozy and Ségolène Royal for Sunday's election in France; and Peter Beinart and Jonah Goldberg ask if the GOP has inked a deal with the devil on immigration. --Adam B. Kushner
Every so often I get a provocative e-mail that gets at a subject via an acute angle from Edward Jay Epstein, the independent inteligence analyst and a man who has provocative ideas about nearly everything. Here's his comment on one segment of the World Bank "scandal." "Is it really shocking for an employee of the World Bank to receive more than Condoleezza Rice's $183,500 salary? Try this for a perspective adjustment: In 2005, 1,396 world bank employees earn that much or more. And, unlike Ms. Rice's salary, it is tax-free.
Media Matters takes us back to May 1, 2003, when the "Mission Accomplished" banner unfurled, the president strutted onto the USS Abraham Lincoln in his parachute harness, and media figures dropped to their knees on live TV. Like this little guy: [CHRIS] MATTHEWS: What do you make of the actual visual that people will see on TV and probably, as you know, as well as I, will remember a lot longer than words spoken tonight? And that's the president looking very much like a jet, you know, a high-flying jet star. A guy who is a jet pilot. Has been in the past when he was younger, obviously.
Eve Fairbanks explains how Harry Reid (an Iraq war moderate) became a dove while Carl Levin (a fierce war opponent) discovered caution; we also post a guide to the candidates' Iraq speeches; Gregg Easterbrook wonders why the press called Cho Seung-Hui a "shooter" rather than a "killer"; Suzanne Nossel says a coalition of China, Russia, and neighboring countries may subvert U.S. attempts to build international alliances; Benjamin Wittes argues that the Supreme Court found a third way on abortion; and John B. Judis fights Comcast so you don't have to. On Saturday, David A.
Is Rudy Giuliani trying to outpander Mitt Romney? As Brad notes below, it appears so. Last night, he "came out" to the the New York Sun with news that he opposes the civil unions bill recently passed by the New Hampshire State Senate, expected to be signed into law by the Republican Governor. "In this specific case the law states same sex civil unions are the equivalent of marriage and recognizes same sex unions from outside states. This goes too far and Mayor Giuliani does not support it," his spokesman told the Sun.
A son of Ariel Sharon--not Omri, the one who's waiting to go to jail after his father dies, but Gilad--has written a brave piece in Thursday's Ha'aretz. In it he presents the demographic problem Israel faces. And it is not just a question of numbers. It is a question of loyalty...or, rather, disloyalty, the disloyalty to the State of Israel of the Israeli Arabs.
"Here's a Washington political riddle where you fill in the blanks: As Alberto Gonzales is to the Republicans, Blank Blank is to the Democrats.... If you answered 'Harry Reid,' give yourself an A." So begins David Broder's latest effort to force his shallow, utterly obsolete, both-parties-are-equally-to-blame-for-everything frame onto the news of the day. Is he suggesting that Reid is the beneficiary of rank cronyism? No. That he lies at the center of a fast-metastasizing scandal involving the politicization of law enforcement? Also no.