The group blog of The New Republic
July 11, 2013
Ever since Edward Snowden plugged his thumb drive into the USB port of global consciousness, I've been monitoring myself and others for signs of incipient paranoia. I detected a few almost immediately. While emailing with another journalist about the case of Michael Hastings, the reporter who died in a fiery L.A.
President Barack Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai essentially just had a Skype breakup. According to The New York Times, the "slowly unraveling" relationship between the two reached a "new low" when Karzai unloaded on Obama in a video conference for negotiating with the Taliban without him. This falling out comes at a fraught moment, just as Obama is finalizing his endgame plans in Afghanistan.
July 10, 2013
It's been interesting to watch American politicians and commentators respond to the coup in Egypt, largely because the reactions have not conformed to ideological categories. Conservatives, especially, seem split: David Brooks wrote a pro-coup column, and Robert Kagan penned an excellent case against the military's move.
Much has been made of President Obama’s commencement speech at Morehouse College, the prestigious school for black men that counts Martin Luther King, Jr. among its graduates.
Immigration reform was supposed to be different than health care reform. A few wonks aside, Republicans have never had any real interest in expanding health insurance coverage to those who lack it. But there are plenty of influential figures in the Republican coalition who are motivated to reform immigration laws—whether political tacticians like Karl Rove who can read demographic charts or business owners who want more reliable streams of immigrant labor.
Defense testimony for the Zimmerman trial, perhaps concluding Wednesday, has so far been something of a sideshow. A trainer from Zimmerman’s gym swaggered to the stand on Monday, described Zimmerman as “soft-bodied,” rated his fitness a 0.5 out of 10, and—feeling visibly awesome about his own athletic abilities—demonstrated a grappling move on the defense attorney.
Some of the commentary about Mark Leibovich’s new book, This Town, concerns the degree to which Team Obama has replicated the less-worthy habits of previous administrations: discarding high ethical standards, leaving public service for lobbying, etc.