Person Attributes

Sudarsan Raghavan of the Washington Post reports on the sickening unearthing of a secret prison in Libya: IN BENGHAZI, LIBYA Peering into a subterranean jail, Adil Gnaybor shuddered with fear. Rusted prison bars once covered with earth were now exposed, dug up by rebels who had discovered the secret labyrinth of cells.

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Few political spectacles depress and alarm me right now more than the stalled nomination of Peter Diamond. For those of you who don't already know, Diamond is the MIT economist whom President Obama has nominated to serve on the Federal Reserve Board. Diamond is widely considered among his generation's most brilliant economists.

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Chameleon

After many feints in this direction dating back to 1996, Newt Gingrich seems to be finally preparing a run for president. Generally, he is not being taken as seriously as potential candidates like Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney, and Mike Huckabee—or even D.C. insider heartthrobs such as Haley Barbour, Mitch Daniels, and Chris Christie. I agree with this assessment of Gingrich’s potential, to an extent; he’s the opposite of a fresh new face, and the guy’s baggage rivals Charlie Sheen’s.

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Oilmen have feelings, too. Take the industry executive who lobbied the White House last year to lift the ban on U.S. corporations doing business in Libya. When National Security Council officials rejected his plea, he broke down and wept. The Libyans, he sniffled, were a gentle people. They deserved better. White House officials offered him a tissue. That was then. If proponents of warmer relations with Libya are shedding tears today, they are tears of elation.

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Look Who’s Talking

The current wave of democratic uprisings in the Middle East is a welcome development. But it will almost certainly empower long-suppressed political parties inspired by the Muslim Brotherhood. That movement—whose slogan reads, in part, “Koran is our law; Jihad is our way”—presents several urgent challenges for American policymakers: How can political parties that seek Islamic law through holy struggle be cajoled and pressured to respect the rules of democratic politics? Is political Islam even compatible with open, civil societies?

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Christianity Today analyses the relative propensity of evangelicals to favor spending cuts: Lisa Miller writes: As on so many culture war battlefields, the political debate is being waged in theological language. On conservative Christian blogs and on right-wing Christian radio, preachers and pundits reinforce the Biblical sinfulness of debt. A publicist from Coral Ridge Ministries, the conservative megachurch in Coral Gables, Florida, quotes his church's founder, D.

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The Washington Post posits this highly bizarre personality contrast between Budget Director Jacob Lew and his predecessor Peter Orszag: Though tall and dark like his predecessor, former budget director Peter Orszag, Lew, 55, shares none of Orszag's cowboy-booted, marathon-running swagger. A lawyer by training, Lew exudes a calm geniality.  Swagger? Peter Orszag? And then the implication that "calm geniality" represents a sharp contrast with his personality style? That is... really weird.

The November Pogrom

In our collective memory of the Holocaust, Kristallnacht occupies a central but ambiguous place. If you look simply at the statistics, there is little reason why the events of November 9-10, 1938, should loom so large.

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The Times has a short report today from the great state of California. It appears as if there is a controversy involving Christmas and schoolchildren. (As an aside, we are already five days into November and I have not heard a single person complain that the "holiday season" has begun earlier than in previous years. These dreary complaints generally start at the end of October.

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Buying Time

Yitzchak Newman is in the market for his first house. For now, the young IT project manager lives with his wife and toddler in a rented basement apartment. Space is limited and the family yearns to attain the middle class ideal of owning their own home. But unlike most aspiring home-owners, the Newmans are determined to enter the real estate market in what may be the world’s most politically sensitive strip of land.

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