April 18, 2007
Young And Foolish
Today's New York Times carries a front-page story about Andrew Young, the former United Nations ambassador who is now a government lobbyist. Young's consulting firm, GoodWorks International, lobbies on behalf of both Nigeria and major industries that do business (or hope to do business) there. A Nigerian human rights lawyer and president of the West African Bar Association puts it best: "He is just here making money." Young is not new to controversy.
Let's see what happens next but it is striking that George W. Bush chose to speak about Darfur today at the Holocaust Museum. And if the symbolism wasn't clear enough, the White House even issued a fact sheet entitled "Stop the Genocide in Darfur." At least the rhetoric is there. On the other hand, today's Times reports that a new U.N. report highly critical of the government also "says that rebel groups were also guilty of violating Council resolutions, peace treaty agreements and humanitarian standards," which presumably doesn't make solving the problem any easier. --Michael Crowley
April 17, 2007
The Decline Of Spin
So the EPA just released a report showing that greenhouse-gas emissions increased by about one percent in 2005. A few weeks ago, the government's latest Climate Action Report, which had to be leaked to the press, revealed that emissions will grow at the same rate in the coming decade as they did in the previous decade, if current trends hold. Back in the old days, the administration might've tried to suppress this stuff, or at least given it a decent spin. (Say, by pointing out that Europe's not doing much better, and pretending that that makes it all okay.) Something, anything. But no.
April 16, 2007
by Christine Stansell How bad can it get? Really bad. Ever since the U.S. attorney scandal started to heat up, it's been a pleasure to read the morning news. Last year this time, the initial suspicions and revelations would have flared up and died down in a couple of news cycles, one more blip on the outrage radar. It's not that the press is so much brighter--although they do seem to be waking up and shaking off the torpor (remember back when the White House press corps got a kick out of Bush's good-old-boy nicknames?). It's that the Democrats have the power to hold committee hearings.
More French News
by David A. Bell With less than a week to go before the first round of balloting, Nicolas Sarkozy is still the odds-on favorite to become France's next president. And one big reason is that, despite the gaffe I reported on last week, he is a remarkably impressive campaigner. In his speeches he is clear, persuasive, at ease, inspiring, and quite funny, often in a self-deprecating vein. In one of his recent appearances, he told his listeners that a few years ago he met a lady who told him, "I like you very much." Flattered, he asked her why.
The Deflating Showdown
There's a lot of hullabaloo over a forthcoming nasty constitutional showdown between Bush and congressional Democrats over the war supplemental, but it still may never get to that, with key anti-war Democrats acknowledging that they're likely to back down on the withdrawal deadline and Bush recognizing their constitutional right not to budge. Here's Armed Services chair Carl Levin (as reported in the Post): Senate Armed Services Chairman Carl M.
In Today's Web Magazine
Jonathan Chait laments that Alberto Gonzales has not lived up to legacy of the administration's previous flack superstars; Jonathan Cohn parries David Gratzer's complaints about other countries' universal health plans; Andrew Roberts, Bush's imperial historian, and Johann Hari scuffle over Hari's profile of Roberts; Michael Currie Schaffer explains why Paul Wolfowitz should step down from the World Bank; and Joshua Kurlantzick says we haven't gotten anything by being nice to China. --Adam B. Kushner
April 15, 2007
Bill Clinton's Love For Israel
Is he out of his mind? Or just reckless? Well, reckless he certainly is. That we've known for years. But now he seems to truly have gone off his rocker. The latest evidence for the unreliability of Bill Clinton's judgement is his statement to Beirut-based Asharq Al-Awsat that, as cited by Ze'ev Schiff in today's Ha'aretz, "A peace agreement between Israel and Syria could be reached within 35 minutes." The Syrian government has been fighting Zionism for nearly three quarters of a century. It is ruthless domestically, imprudent diplomatically and impetuous militarily.
The First Televised Genocide
Today was Holocaust Remembrance Day in Israel, and various eminences but mostly a crowd of survivors gathered at Yad Vashem, Moshe Safdie's great architectural statement against genocide, in Jerusalem. Tommy Lapid, a former Knesset member, cabinet member and now chair of the Yad Vashem council, reminded the assembled that there had been other genocides since the Jewish catastrophe: in Rwanda, Biafra, Cambodia.
Brother, Can You Spare A Dollar?
First McCain's fundraising disappointed, and now this: Sen. John McCain has spent nearly two-thirds of the money he raised for his presidential campaign this year, leaving him with less than half the cash his major opponents have in the bank. McCain, an Arizona Republican who raised less money than former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, also spent a bigger percentage of his campaign treasury than his rivals, according to federal reports filed electronically over the weekend. From January through March, McCain raised about $13 million.