The Plank

Robert Goulet, 1933 - 2007
October 31, 2007 The Plank

I noticed that no one here has noted the passing of Robert Goulet. Maybe it's kind of sad that for a good number of people--including me--his greatest legacy will be some college basketball commercials he did for a cable sports network. But when you watch the actual commercials again, you realize it's not such a bad legacy after all.

--Jason Zengerle 

Embassy Blues
October 31, 2007 The Plank

A propos of reports that a terror attack against the U.S. Embassy in Azerbaijan was recently thwarted, William Langewiesche's revealing (and somber) piece in this month's Vanity Fair offers some insights into why embassies are security disasters:

The Crack Gap, Reformed (sorta)
October 31, 2007 The Plank

You've probably seen this: The Supreme Court just put a de facto moratorium on all executions until Baze v. Rees, a lethal injection case from Kentucky, gets decided next spring. (Here's one prediction on how that will turn out.)

Against All Odds
October 31, 2007 The Plank

Yesterday, Isaac pointed out the outlandishness of British betting house William Hill having Ron Paul listed at 12-1 odds of winning the presidency, versus 33-1 odds for John McCain. But it's hardly the only peculiarity one can find over there.

Department Of Bad Timing
October 31, 2007 The Plank

Perhaps it's just me, but it seems Dennis Kucinich might have chosen a better day to question George W.

"intellectually Engaged"
October 31, 2007 The Plank

As Mike notes over at the Stump, Rudy Giuliani's spokeswoman has declared him an "intellectually engaged human being." The evidence: He read an article published by one of his own advisers in the conservative City Journal, claiming that the five-year survival rate for prostate cancer (of which Giuliani is himself a survivor) is just 44 percent in England, compared to 82 percent in the United States.

Immunity (sort Of)
October 31, 2007 The Plank

The New York Times today briefly attempts to clarify the murky issue of Blackwater's immunity deal with the State Department. According to the Times, Blackwater was offered a special type of immunity called a Garrity Warning, typically offered to law enforcement officials who may have done something illegal.

The Evacuation Off The Titanic Continues
October 31, 2007 The Plank

Karen Hughes -- Bush's public-diplomacy maven, whom Tucker Carlson once called mentally ill -- is getting on that one-way train back to Texas.

--Eve Fairbanks

Girl World
October 31, 2007 The Plank

Today's Washington Post declares this the Era of La Presidenta in South America, thanks to Chile's and Argentina's recent female victors in presidential elections and the possibility that this woman-in-power trend is about to "spread north" through the continent. The Post sees it as a South-America-specific phenom: