December 18, 2007
This morning's Times, like most other news sources, reports that at an international conference in Paris presided over by Nicolas Sarkozy -- a gathering which Jacques Chirac would have never been allowed to chair -- the attendees pledged nearly two billion dollars more than the Palestinian Authority had requested from what is coyly termed the "international donor community." This turned out to be, as the Times reminded, the "most ambitious" such venture since 1996, at which point Yassir Arafat was still ruling the roost from Ramallah and there was absolutely zero progress on arrangements betw
David Brooks spends today's column explaining why Obama is more emotionally grounded than Hillary and would thus make a better president. This may very well be true. Whatever her virtues, Hillary doesn't strike many folks as particularly zen. But (surprise!) Brooks is a little too glibly authoritative is his broader pronouncements. Take this pearl: Many of the best presidents in U.S. history had their character forged before they entered politics and carried to it a degree of self-possession and tranquillity that was impervious to the Sturm und Drang of White House life.
The Apple Never Falls Far... [David D. Kirkpatrick, The New York Times]: "On the trail, his father’s ghost hovers constantly over the Romney campaign. ...
Tears For Oil In Hillaryland
Yesterday's news from the campaign trail--that Hillary Rodham Clinton got "visibly emotional" at a rally celebrating her political career--nicely complements her team's accelerating efforts to signpost her basic humanity. (Did anyone catch her middle-of-the-road New Year's resolutions at last week's debate?
December 17, 2007
This past fall, the world watched in horror as brutal military rulers reasserted their control of Burma by chasing protesting monks from the streets of the country's capital. And the junta had help from a powerful ally: the American consumer. Burma produces more than 90 percent of the world's ruby and jade. According to Human Rights Watch, the state-controlled Myanmar Gems Enterprise pocketed nearly $300 million from the gem trade last year. That represents a 45 percent increase in profits from the previous year.
Hillary on the High Wire
WASHINGTON--The Democratic contest in Iowa--and possibly the battle for the party's presidential nomination--hangs on whether Hillary Clinton can use the next two weeks to encourage second thoughts about Barack Obama, and get voters to take a second look at her. A month and a half ago, Clinton was widely seen as the inevitable victor. Now, she faces a moment of great peril. For most of 2007, Clinton benefited from a virtuous cycle. Her continuing lead in the polls slowly eased Democratic doubts about her ability to beat the Republicans next fall.
The Democrats' Fisa Reform Strategy
Like Glenn Greenwald and Atrios, I'm a bit puzzled as to why Harry Reid seems determined to stack the deck against opponents of the FISA reform bill granting retroactive immunity to telecom companies that cooperated with the administration--even refusing to honor the "hold" Chris Dodd requested on the legislation, all while recognizing, for instance, Lindsey Graham's "hold" on the CIA interrogation bill.
Today, New Jersey became the first state to ban the death penalty since it was reinstated by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1976. In honor of the development, I wanted to link to this 1998 piece by Jonathan Rauch on uncertainty and the death penalty, which is among the most thoughtful essays I can recall ever reading on a matter of public policy: In 1868, John Stuart Mill rose in Parliament to make the case for death as eloquently as human words permit.
Dodd Balls [ThinkProgress]: "Sen.
December 15, 2007
Misguided Mukasey Gloating
The disturbing news that Attorney General Michael Mukasey is stonewalling a congressional investgation into the CIA's destruction of interrogation tapes prompts Scott Lemieux to mock Ben Wittes for having supported Mukasey's nomination: Yes, the Dems will actually if anything have more leverage over Mukasey once he's confirmed! Because, er, he won't be able to "do anything" --like, oh, just for a random example, obstructing a Congressional inquiry into the obstruction of justice surounding state-sanctioned torture -- without them.