Person Communication

Dept. Of Oops
March 06, 2009

From Politico: GENEVA—Secretary of State Hillary Clinton opened her first extended talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov by giving him a present meant to symbolize the Obama administration’s vow to “press the reset button” on U.S.-Russia relations. She handed a palm-sized box wrapped with a bow. Lavrov opened it and pulled out the gift: a red button on a black base with a Russian word peregruzka printed on top.  “We worked hard to get the right Russian word.

The Scoop Factory
March 04, 2009

On the evening of January 22, a few hours after his administration's debut news conference, Barack Obama made a surprise visit to the cramped quarters of the White House press corps. It was meant to be a friendly event, and Obama glad-handed his way through reporters and cameramen, exchanging light banter as he went. But Politico reporter Jonathan Martin wasn't there to chat. Martin pressed Obama about the president's decision to nominate William J. Lynn III, a former defense lobbyist, to deputy defense secretary and about Obama's pledge to curtail the influence of lobbyists.

The Wrong Envoy To Syria?
March 04, 2009

I was surprised to see Jeffrey Feltman as one of the two envoys Obama is sending to Syria to begin talks with President Bashir Al-Asad. Feltman, currently the acting assistant secretary of state for Near East affairs (he is rumored to be keeping the job), was formerly the U.S. ambassador to Lebanon, where he cultivated a staunchly anti-Syrian reputation. Hearing his name still reminds me of the banner that used to hang across downtown Beirut: "Topple the Feltman Government," it read--a reference to his staunch support for the pro-West and anti-Syrian March 14 coalition.

The Reagan-gorbachev-nixon Files
February 12, 2009

Vanity Fair has an excellent excerpt of James Mann's new book on Ronald Reagan's relationship with Mikhail Gorbachev. Reagan comes across as generally clueless but essentially right about his Soviet counterpart. Obsessed with lame jokes and stories, the former president is unable to focus on policy; he also "gets" Gorbachev before many of his advisors do. The most humorous example of Reagan's childish nature occurs during a summit in which he has decided to try to convince Gorbachev of the existence of God: As the meeting ended, Reagan became even more direct and personal.

February 05, 2009

Joe Wurzelbacher, in town to help with the stimulus, consults with some disinterested observers: Today I had one briefing, and that was at the Club for Growth, I spoke to Andy Roth. Now yesterday, I talked to the Heritage Foundation. I actually had the chance to talk to the Cato Institute as well, I guess you could call it a briefing, it was more of an interview. But all these bipartisan, or if you will neutral, think tanks are pretty much saying the same things.

Photo Of The Day
January 08, 2009

US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid meets with Illinois Senate appointee Roland Burris at the US Capitol on January 7, 2009. Burris met with Reid and senior Illinois Senator Dick Durbin to work out a solution to his appointment made by embattled Governor Rod Blagojevich. (Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images) Just a pair of BFFs. Doesn't Reid look happy? --Michael Crowley

Oh Mother (russia)
January 06, 2009

With another gas showdown between Ukraine and Russian gas behemoth Gazprom now underway, it is worth being reminded of the surreal aspect of Putin's Russia. Gazprom has decided that it will reduce deliveries of Russian gas to Ukraine; many observers believe that the dispute is actually a political one. The New York Times, in an excellent short piece, manages to capture the strangeness of Putin's rule: The announcement took the form of a conversation between Putin and the chief executive of Gazprom, Aleksei B. Miller, during an evening newscast on Russian state television.

Going Under
December 31, 2008

In December 2003, Brent Cambron gave himself his first injection of morphine. Save for the fact that he was sticking the needle into his own skin, the motion was familiar--almost rote. Over the course of the previous 17 months, as an anesthesia resident at Boston's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Cambron had given hundreds of injections. He would stick a syringe into a glass ampule of fentanyl or morphine or Dilaudid, pulling up the plunger to draw his dose. Then he'd inject the dose into his patient.

Rosenblat's Lies "always Hurtful" Says Son
December 28, 2008

The Rosenblat family is coming to terms with the revelations exposed by TNR that Herman Rosenblat lied about his love story that he met his future wife outside the fence of the Schlieben concentration camp, which formed the central premise of his Holocaust memoir, Angel at the Fence. This afternoon, I spoke with Herman's son Ken Rosenblat, who is still stunned by his father's deception. Ken told me by phone that he had in fact known of his parents' lie for many years but hadn't been able to stop them. "My father is a man who I don’t know. I can’t understand it.

Photo Of The Day
December 15, 2008

What the--? Did someone throw another shoe?? (Getty: US President George W. Bush gestures during a meeting with Afghan President Hamid Karzai at the Presidential Palace in Kabul on December 15, 2008. US President George W. Bush arrived in Afghanistan on December 15, after a making a farewell visit to Iraq, according to the White House. MUSADEQ SADEQ/AFP/Getty Images) --Michael Crowley