July 07, 2008
So how is the Chinese government trying to sweep all that dirt under the rug and spruce up Beijing for the 2008 Olympics? Let's tally up the ways: Power plants are switching from coal to natural gas. The dirtiest factories are relocating or shutting down. New rules will allow car-owners to drive only on alternating days. A shiny new subway line is opening up. Tarps are being placed over the dust on all construction sites. Extensive water-recycling efforts are underway. And, oh yes, there's a billion-dollar mountaintop park being built north of the city to shield against sandstorms.
July 06, 2008
What Is David Broder Talking About?
There are a couple of real head-scratchers in his column today about Justice Kennedy, even by Broder's usual standards. First is this: It was only then--after that implausible scenario--that third-choice Kennedy was called to the White House and introduced by Reagan as his man. It turned out to be successful beyond Reagan's wildest dreams. I have some sympathy for the revisionist "Reagan as moderate" school of thought, but...hello!? Are we talking about the same justice here?
July 04, 2008
What's Your Favorite Grievance?
It's always worth taking time on the Fourth of July to read through the Declaration of Independence, a document that never ceases to amaze. In particular, it's fun to go over the list of grievances against King George III, to remind oneself what the whole fuss was about.
July 03, 2008
The Flip-Flop Fallacy
My colleague Noam Scheiber argues in his piece yesterday ("Is This Man a Typical Pol?”) that John McCain’s new campaign strategy of painting Barack Obama as an unprincipled flip-flopper is bound to fail. Noam posits that painting Obama as a “typical politician” is not a damaging enough accusation in a year when the public overwhelmingly prefers a Democratic president. Maybe--but I think McCain’s strategy is a little more potent than Noam gives it credit for. First, bad press is bad press.
Last week, The New Republic sat down to discuss recent legal developments in the war on terror with Benjamin Wittes, a TNR.com columnist, fellow and research director in public law at the Brookings Institution and author of the new book Law and the Long War: The Future of Justice in the Age of Terror, and with Andrew McCarthy, director of the Center for Law and Counterterrorism at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and author of the recent book Willful Blindness: A Memoir of the Jihad. TNR: I want to get your reactions to this week’s decision from the D.C.
Make War No More
WASHINGTON--Barack Obama keeps trying to end the wars over culture and religion, and good for him. The 1960s are so 40 years ago.
Shame On You Jon Chait...
...For trying to destroy my family. Okay, not quite destroy my family. But I'm in Israel about to head to my cousin's wedding, so I don't have a ton of time to respond to Chait's response to my piece from yesterday. Given that, let me just take on two quick arguments Chait makes. 1.) Chait writes: Look at poor John Kerry: The "flip-flopper" label completely disqualified him. Political reporters were constantly finding voters who agreed with Kerry on most or all the issues but refused to vote for him because they didn't trust him.
July 02, 2008
Who’s interested in Zimbabwe, and why? How should Westerners understand the situation there? And could this all be Jimmy Carter’s fault? T.A. Frank and James Kirchick discussed the situation over IM. Why Zimbabwe? T.A. Frank: As people like to point out, there are a lot of rotten countries out there. So why this rotten country? Let’s talk about why you and I happen to care about Zimbabwe. James Kirchick: Well, personally, I've been there.
Is Barack A Typical Pol?
Two weeks ago, Obama was “Obambi”--a guy so innocent he’d struggle to cross a major intersection, much less survive a match-up against the GOP. Then Obambi opted out of the public financing system and stiff-armed McCain on some town-hall meetings, and all of a sudden he was Lee Atwater.
This article by Tim Shipman and Philip Sherwell in the (London) Daily Telegraph was published just hours before Bill Clinton deigned to talk with Barack Obama on the phone. The dispatch reports that the imperial president had insisted to others that Obama would have to "kiss my ass" to win his support in the election. Of course, he probably didn't since Obama does not take insults as graciously as he does disagreements. Moreover, Clinton is smart enough to know that Hillary's political future is now very much in distress. And his own future very much depends on hers.