Hillary: Face Time Rules
December 22, 2009

Apparently I found Newsweek's interview with Henry Kissinger and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton more interesting than Isaac did. Clinton makes what I think are a couple of interesting observations,  including this one, about diplomacy in the modern world: What I have found hardest to balance is the amount of travel that is expected today. One would think that in an era where communication is instantaneous, you would not have to get on an airplane and go sit in a meeting.

Kissinger and Clinton Get Cozy
December 22, 2009

It is bad enough that Newsweek and Slate decided to run a long joint interview of Henry Kissinger and Hillary Clinton. It is even worse that Jon Meacham, the interviewer, asks questions like, "What has surprised you most since becoming secretary of state?" or "How important is the relationship between the secretary and the president?" There is also, of course, Clinton's and Kissinger's warm rapport ("Well, Henry's the expert on theory and doctrine," "I fundamentally agree," "Mm-hmm," " I would add to what Henry said.").

The Conventional Wisdom on Jobs is Changing
December 15, 2009

The good folks at Grant's Interest Rate Observer must have felt pretty lonely six weeks ago when they suggested the recovery might be "jobful" rather than jobless, as almost everyone was insisting at the time.

Is Palin a Threat or a Joke?
November 19, 2009

Megan McArdle has a post today in which she takes the media to task for what she deems "Palinoia." She writes: Y'all well know that I really don't like Sarah Palin.  In fact, more than one of you has yelled at me about this.  And I find the whole schtick about how the media is just a bunch of elitist hooligans who are out to get her really grating.

November 17, 2009

Newsweek puts together a list of the dozen worst comedians of the last few decades, including Emo Phillips, Andrew Dice Clay, Paulie Shore, Carrot Top, and Gallagher. The memories still burn.

The Front
October 19, 2009

On July 25, Najibullah Zazi, a lanky man in his mid-twenties, walked into the Beauty Supply Warehouse in Aurora, Colorado, a suburb of Denver. The visit was captured on a store video camera. Wearing a baseball cap and pushing a shopping cart, Zazi appeared to be just another suburban guy. Of course, not many suburban guys buy six bottles of Clairoxide hair bleach, as Zazi did on this shopping trip--or return a month later to buy a dozen bottles of "Ms. K Liquid," a peroxide-based product.

Taliban v. "Camels"
October 05, 2009

Also noteworthy from that Newsweek oral history is this view, from a former Taliban deputy minister, of the trouble Arab "camels" brought to his cause: Two days before the September 11 attacks on America, we were all celebrating the death of [Northern Alliance commander Ahmed Shah] Masood, [who was assassinated by Qaeda agents posing as television reporters]. His forces were already on the verge of defeat, so his death all but assured us of total victory in Afghanistan. But the September 11 attacks turned our cheer into deep concern.

Gen. McChrystal: 'Troublemaker,' Monty Python Fan, Loyal Soldier
October 02, 2009

Newsweek has a long and thorough profile of Obama's man in Afghanistan: At West Point, the younger McChrystal was "a troublemaker," he recalls. He often violated the drinking ban and got caught at it, walking hundreds of hours of punishment drills, pacing up and down a stone courtyard in full-dress uniform, carrying a rifle. As a senior, McChrystal organized a mock infantry attack on a school building, using real guns and rolled-up socks as grenades, and was nearly shot by the military police guarding the building.

"These Are The President's Weapons"
September 22, 2009

Over the past few months, there have been several reports to the effect that Barack Obama's plan for drastic cuts to the U.S. nuclear arsenal is dead in the water. Newsweek reported that a draft of the new Nuclear Posture Review (NPR)—which, when released next year, will determine the shape of the U.S.

Listen Up
September 11, 2009

One remarkable thing about watching the Middle East is how what’s celebrated as brilliant in Europe or America is errant nonsense. Writing such stuff makes people successful and gives them an audience of millions.