The group blog of The New Republic
August 16, 2013
In 2008, the National Security Agency illicitly—if accidentally—intercepted a “large number” of phone calls from Washington, D.C. because an error confused Egypt’s country code—“20”—with, yes, “202.”
August 15, 2013
Today, Russian pole vaulter and future mayor of the Sochi Olympic village Yelena Isinbayeva snagged a third world championship in Moscow. Afterwards, in an interview, she lashed out at two Swedish competitors who had painted their nails in rainbow colors in solidarity with the gay rights movement.
Cairo is no longer the capital of Arab hope. It is now the capital of Arab despair. Or so it deserves to be, except that despair does not appear to be the dominant Arab response, and more importantly, the dominant Egyptian response, to the violent destruction of the Egyptian revolution by the Egyptian army. This is the Eighteenth Brumaire of Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. The army has now committed three massacres. Emergency rule has been declared.
I am a sporadic reader of Playbook. And I'll admit it: I don't read it for the articles (or rather, their summaries). I unabashedly scroll to the birthdays. (Did you know Coolio turned 50 this month? Whaattt?) Anyway, it is here that I have realized the alarming degree to which chivalry has eroded.
The best defense I can muster for Team Obama's pathetic response to the events of the last month in Egypt is that the men and women in charge of American foreign policy simply don't mind looking foolish. No, really: Obama has espoused the generally astute opinion that the immediate reaction of the American president is not the most important aspect of every worrying development on the planet. Not all problems can be fixed by a show of American strength or outrage or willpower.
Egyptian security forces on Wednesday tore through two Cairo camps erected by supporters of the deposed president, Mohamed Morsi, a crackdown in which more than 500 have died. Cairo's streets are temporarily calm, though further protests and funerals for the dead are expected to bring more violence later today. Here's how life looks in Cairo the morning after the massacre.
Budget sequestration was supposed to cause all sorts of disruptions, the kind that would get the attention of middle class voters. It didn’t. And for that reason most of the media stopped paying attention. But the cuts are very real, and so are the effects. Government workers are dealing with furloughs.
With former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. sentenced to 30 months in prison for stealing campaign funds, the consensus is that his story is one of personal tragedy—what happens when a promising figure becomes overconfident and engulfed by ambition. Legally, Jackson Jr. is only guilty of embezzling $750,000 from his campaign coffers to redecorate his Washington home.
August 14, 2013
Is anyone still watching Larry King, who has been stubbornly industrious in the months since his nostalgic farewell to viewers on CNN? In 2011 he went on a national comedy tour, the biggest shock of which was the sight of his legs, so scrawny that it was hard to believe they were weight-bearing.
In 1962, two of the Koch brothers were MIT basketball stars.