December 09, 2007

What Did The Iranian Defectors Say?
12:00 AM

The Los Angeles Times has a big story today on Iranian defectors. Here's the lede: The CIA launched a secret program in 2005 designed to degrade Iran's nuclear weapons program by persuading key officials to defect, an effort that has prompted a "handful" of significant departures, current and former U.S. intelligence officials familiar with the operation say. The previously undisclosed program, which CIA officials dubbed "the Brain Drain," is part of a major intelligence push against Iran ordered by the White House two years ago. This would certainly explain the NIE's turnabout.

December 08, 2007

Big Oil Gone Green?
12:00 AM

Given the Senate block of the House energy bill, let’s take a look at the home pages of the “global energy companies” (to use their preferred moniker). Though it makes complete business sense, I’m still always startled by big oil’s aggressive environmental rebranding.On BP’s World Advertising page, almost every campaign pivots on environmental impact or a branch of alternative energy. Green glares from the homepage--and not just in the various foliage shades of font.

December 07, 2007

Mandate Overboard
12:00 AM

After all three Democratic presidential candidates released their health care proposals this year, a general consensus emerged on who was going to do what. Barack Obama had put forward a substantial plan that would reach a lot of people; Hillary Clinton and John Edwards had put forward even more ambitious plans that would reach even more people.

Detention Retention
12:00 AM

Seth Waxman, arguing on behalf of 37 detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, told the Supreme Court Wednesday that each of these men "maintains, as this Court explained [in an earlier case] that he is quote 'innocent of all wrongdoing.' " Waxman, a former solicitor general, is the kind of oral advocate who can sell justices their own underwear. And in one fashion or another, he is likely to win this case.

What's Your Problem?
12:00 AM

What's the problem with the Iraq debate? PETER BEINART is editor-at-large at The New Republic, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, and the author of The Good Fight (HarperCollins). JONAH GOLDBERG is editor-at-large of National Review Online and a contributing editor to National Review. By Peter Beinart & Jonah Goldberg

Divinely Uninspired
12:00 AM

“For the first time in this campaign--it’s long already--I heard greatness this morning,” gushed Chris Matthews shortly after Mitt Romney finished delivering his long-awaited speech about … well, what was it about? Political insiders had long expected the “Mormonism Speech” to recall John F. Kennedy’s historic address to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association on September 12, 1960, in which he argued that his membership in the Catholic Church must not disqualify him from the presidency. Like Kennedy, Romney spoke in Texas.

Phenomenal, Pandering
12:00 AM

WASHINGTON--It's not easy being a politician from a minority faith, especially when it comes to explaining your own traditions--sometimes even to yourself.     Al Smith, the first Catholic to be nominated for president by a major party, found his faith under vicious attack in the 1928 campaign.

The Beginning of the End
12:00 AM

Even before Sunday's stunning defeat of President Hugo Chavez's constitutional reform package in <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 />Venezuela, it was clear that his rule had reached a turning point. Win or lose, Venezuela's politics had already changed in fundamental ways. The tired narrative of the astute populist soaked in oil money, railing against discredited political parties, an inept opposition, and George W. Bush had already given way to a new scenario.

December 06, 2007

12:00 AM

Only a year ago, Facebook was as collegiate a phenomenon as cram sessions and bong hits. Now it's become a major social-networking tool across the board--partly because it's better designed than the likes of Friendster and MySpace, and partly because its users can easily modify their home pages to add "applications" that reflect their interests and personalities. The site currently claims over 57 million members worldwide, and says it adds a quarter-million more every day.

Hero Schmero
12:00 AM

Isn’t it about time America had a president we could admire? That’s not some stump-speech rhetorical question. Rather, as the country heads into an election year, it’s a significant subject--one that has become central to the battle between the supposedly admirable Barack Obama and the supposedly unsympathetic Hillary Clinton. The arguments from Obama’s cheering section invariably boil down to the idea that their guy would be a president worthy of admiration, not just partisan loyalty. And though she certainly has her true believers, that’s not something you're hearing a lot about Mrs.