May 13, 2007

In Today's Web Magazine
12:00 AM

Christine Stansell explains how the Supreme Court endorsed the pseudoscience of the anti-choicers (she also suggests some reading about abortion); Alan Dershowitz laments his accidental role in conveying respectability to the charlatan Norman Finkelstein; the Editors say adieu to the French cliché; and Benjamin Wittes judges Alberto Gonzales's performance before the House Judiciary Committee last week. On Saturday, we posted some of Lincoln Kirstein's criticism from The New Republic to complement Jed Perl's review of the new Kirstein biography. --Adam B. Kushner

May 11, 2007

Beyond Basketball: Race, Class, and Politics
12:00 AM

Charles Barkley's round face and massive body may be ubiquitous on television, but, in person, the former All-Star power forward is even more physically imposing. At the Atlanta studio that anchors TNT's NBA playoff coverage, Barkley greets me warmly with a strong handshake. Throughout the day, he greets guests in his green room--staffers, a reporter's father--by teasing them affectionately. When a young man, the son of a former TNT employee, enters and informs Barkley about his straight-A grades, Barkley tells him that he can have, as promised, $100 from his money clip.

"lash[ing] Out"
12:00 AM

Via The Hill, the White House apparently wasn't too happy to read about Bush's meeting with those moderate Republicans in the papers yesterday: Sources said that Dan Meyer, Bush's liaison to the House, confronted LaHood while White House political strategist Karl Rove rebuked Kirk.

May 10, 2007

Blair To Blame?
12:00 AM

The tow-headed, oafish Boris Johnson-- member of Parliament, erstwhile editor of the Spectator, and columnist for the Daily Telegraph--is of a type that we don't have in America but which is very common in Britain: the legislator-cum-journalist.

Plan B Follies
12:00 AM

Belatedly: This morning's Washington Post indicated that Bush has a "Plan B" in mind for Iraq: Participants in Tuesday's White House meeting said frustration about the Iraqi government's efforts dominated the conversation, with one pleading with the president to stop the Iraqi parliament from going on vacation while "our sons and daughters spill their blood." The House members pressed Bush and Gates hard for a "Plan B" if the current troop increase fails to quell the violence and push along political reconciliation.

May 09, 2007

Spy Games
12:00 AM

In George Tenet's new book, At the Center of the Storm, the former CIA director claims that, when the Israeli government sought the release of jailed Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard in 1998, it was at Tenet's insistence that the former Navy intelligence analyst was kept behind bars. People who say Israel cannot be trusted by the United States have long pointed to Pollard as the case in point.

Easy Fix
12:00 AM

We all know about the "war czar." He's the guy who's going to win the war in Iraq, just as soon as the White House finds someone to take the job. But did you know that, over the years, Bush has also appointed a "bird flu czar," a "food safety czar," and an "AIDS czar"? A "manufacturing czar" and a "cybersecurity czar"? That's from Steven Benen's TAP piece today about the Bush administration's preferred solution to any large, intractable problem. Czars galore. --Bradford Plumer

Thrilling Motion To Proceed Action!
12:00 AM

I feel guilty for not keeping closer tabs on the immigration-bill talks up on Capitol Hill. But whenever I try to catch up I encounter passages like this one: Senate GOP Conference Chairman Jon Kyl (Ariz.), an opponent of last year's bill turned White House ally in the negotiations, tamped down talk of a filibuster on the motion to proceed to placeholder legislation - provided that it would be only a stand-in for a complete agreement that has yet to emerge. Sigh.

May 08, 2007

Cafe Mania
12:00 AM

It's true, as Mike points out, both Obama and Bush are proposing similar-sounding CAFE increases. The main difference, I think, is that the White House has given every indication that it intends to be much more, um, "flexible" about things. Here's a telling caveat from the president's State of the Union address, which estimated that his CAFE plan would reduce gasoline consumption by 8.5 billion gallons in 2017: These amounts are based on an assumption that on average, fuel efficiency standards for both light trucks and passenger cars are increased 4 percent per year....

May 07, 2007

Character Flaw
12:00 AM

Of all the low points during the Bush administration, perhaps the most surreal was the week in December 2004 when Bernie Kerik was poised to become secretary of Homeland Security. By the traditional measures used to judge qualifications for this sort of job, Kerik was not an ideal candidate. The main points in Kerik's favor were his loyal service to Rudy Giuliani, first as driver for his mayoral campaign, then corrections commissioner, then police commissioner--the last of which was commemorated by the casting of30 Kerik busts.