October 01, 2007
The Military And Academia
The attempt by the country's leading law schools to ban recruiters from the military's Judge Advocate General Corps has long been a self-indulgent and, ultimately, futile effort. "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (the ostensible reason for the schools' ban, something of a cover for these institutions' deeper and decades-long hostility to the military) came about via congressional statute and can only be repealed by Congress.
There's a fabulous article in the Washington Post today on the troubled history of our struggle against IEDs in Iraq. Two things stand out. When I think about IEDs, I tend to put mental emphasis on the word "improvised" -- and envision a box with frizzled metal wires sticking out of it, like something you'd see at a high school science fair. The Post piece details just how ingenious and flexible the bomb-makers can be, and how sophisticated the market for them has become.
September 29, 2007
Newt Says Nyet
That lasted all of two days. Newt decides he's not going to raise $30 million in a single month after all: Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich will not run for president in 2008 after determining he could not legally explore a bid and remain as head of his tax-exempt political organization, a spokesman said Saturday.Just last week, Gingrich said he had given himself a deadline of Oct.
Put Your Rifle Locks Back On
Lyle Denniston over at SCOTUSblog reports on a little-noticed development this week: the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals seems to have narrowed its ruling (pdf) from March of this year (which the Supreme Court will likely review) regarding the District's gun laws. The original decision was understood to have invalidated not only D.C.'s ban on handguns, which garnered most of the attention, but also its provision stipulating that all firearms, handguns or otherwise, be disassembled or have trigger locks engaged.
September 28, 2007
'bollinger V. Suzman'
Lee Bollinger clearly considers himself to be a hero. It was so evident in his preening, faux-heroic speech on Monday, in which the Columbia University president valiantly told a Holocaust-denying, homosexual-murdering, genocide-inciting dictator "You exhibit all the signs of a petty and cruel dictator." What courage. Several days ago, I received the following message from Helen Suzman, the legendary South African parliamentarian who spent 36 years in office opposing apartheid, often as the only voice of reason in that body.
Barack Obama's speech at Howard University this morning was full of explosive, rhythmic calls to action, striking a fine balance between sober convocation and straight stumping. The campaign touted it as a substantive rollout of Obama's criminal justice platform, while the theater of his presence clearly thrilled the audience of black students and faculty.
My assistant Jamie Kirchick pointed out to me that the governor of my state, oy vey, my governor, Deval Patrick, had made a Demosthenian speech on the 9/11 anniversary.
September 27, 2007
The Dartmouth Debate
In the "spin room" after tonight's debate, Elizabeth Edwards suggested her husband offers Democrats a rare opportunity: the chance to nominate someone who is both the most progressive and the most electable candidate running. (At least among the plausible candidates.) It's an intriguing notion, one that would play well among the notoriously liberal and notoriously strategic-minded Democrats of Iowa. The only question is whether it's actually possible.
September 26, 2007
Their Lips Are Sealed
Just when you think the Bush administration can't get any more galling in its handling of Iraq: "State Department bars employees from responding to corruption inquiry" So what do congressional Republicans think of this kind of White House maneuver? Do they worry that it will further erode public confidence in the party? Or do they assume that most Americans aren't paying attention? --Michelle Cottle
September 25, 2007
A Big Pay-off For Good Governance
A new survey released today, the "Ibrahim Index," takes a comprehensive look at corruption in sub-Saharan African nations, ranking 48 countries on their good (or not-so-good) governance. Mo Ibrahim, a Sudanese-born businessman who made his fortune as chairman of the mobile phone company Celtel, financed the survey, which was administered by Robert Rotberg from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. The data isn't earth-shattering: Mauritius, an island nation bolstered by tourism and a stable government, comes in at number one, while Somalia ranks dead last at number 48.