What Really Happened at the Battle of Waterloo
January 31, 2014
How many biscuits did it take to beat Napoleon? 83,428.
Do Readers Give Infographics a Free Pass?
November 22, 2013
Why we need to learn to scrutinize them like any other journalism
How Europe Earned Its Nobel Peace Prize
December 07, 2012
When 500 million Europeans receive their Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, here's why they really will deserve it.
After Abbottabad: Navy SEALs and American Security
October 19, 2012
What's next for Navy's SEAL Team Six?
Some weeks I gamble with this column. I don’t know what to write about, so I wait in the stupid assurance that something will turn up. This happened on the night of Sunday May 27. I was remoting through the television channels, somewhere in the 500s, when I was stopped by the stricken indigo holes of Helena Bonham Carter’s eyes. The film was only a few minutes old, and I had never seen it before, so I stayed with it. It was called Conversations with Other Women, though on the poster the word is Conversations (s). We are at a wedding in a Manhattan hotel. A man and a woman meet.
Single-Payer Briar Patch
March 28, 2012
The professional Obama-hater Dick Morris said today on Fox News that if President Obama is elected to a second term after the Supreme Court strikes down Obamacare (as is looking more likely) then "he’ll move to a single payer system." Morris elaborated: "I think the Supreme Court decision—that I expect—will throw out this mandate, but single payer of course is legal under the taxing authority. Total socialized medicine...." Jeez, that would be terrible! Morris reminds me of the Russian sergeant in Woody Allen's Love and Death.
Netanyahu Is Not the Problem
November 11, 2011
At the G20 Summit last week in Cannes, Nicolas Sarkozy held only four private meetings. One was with Barack Obama and a second was with Manmohan Singh, prime minister of India.
Why There’s Still Space—and Time—For Another GOP Contender
September 30, 2011
This weekend in Little Rock, Bill Clinton and an all-star cast of political alumni will celebrate the twentieth anniversary of his formal entry into the 1992 presidential race. But the candidate decision that did the most to bequeath Clinton the Democratic nomination did not occur until December 20, 1991.
The Utter Meaninglessness of the Debt Ceiling Deal
August 01, 2011
Twenty-six years ago—as part of the price for raising the federal debt ceiling to a shocking $2 trillion—Congress, in a wave of fiscal self-flagellation, approved the Gramm-Rudman bill. If a spendthrift Congress failed to meet prescribed deficit targets, then Gramm-Rudman would slice the budget with the across-the-board subtlety of Sweeney Todd. That was the theory anyway, although legislative maneuvering left about half the budget (including Social Security, Medicare, and Defense contracts) off limits to meat-cleaver deficit reduction.
Break a Clegg
May 19, 2011
For Bismarck, politics was the art of the possible, while Napoleon would always ask of any general, “But is he lucky?” Put the two together and we can see politics as a game somewhere between chess and poker. Any politician has to gamble and take risks. He needs judgment, he needs nerve, but he also needs luck. Over the first weekend of May last year, Nick Clegg showed considerable skill in playing a poor hand. The voters had just delivered a somewhat oracular verdict in the British general election.