October 12, 2007

Jimmy Carter, Back Again
12:00 AM

Another book tour? Clearly Jimmy Carter writes more books than he reads. Yes, there is a new one, modestly titled, Beyond the White House: Waging Peace, Fighting Disease and Building Hope. I suspect it's a record of failure disguised by PR as a rousing success. As for his last book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, he says, "many people just concentrated on the word apartheid." Well, wasn't that what they were supposed to do? Otherwise, would there be many buyers?

October 11, 2007

More On That Obama Op-ed
12:00 AM

A rival campaign points me to a speech Obama made in November 2006, where he used language that's substantively similar to the amendment he criticized in today's op-ed (which I wrote about earlier). Here's the key graf from the Obama speech: In such a scenario, it is conceivable that a significantly reduced U.S. force might remain in Iraq for a more extended period of time. But only if U.S.

Unholy Communion
12:00 AM

In the past few years, conservative Episcopalians from a number of U.S. congregations have voted to bolt from their church and place themselves under various African leaders, including Nigeria's Anglican primate Peter Jasper Akinola. The source of the conservatives' discontent with the U.S. Episcopal Church was its liberal position on homosexuality. It had, after all, named an openly gay man bishop of New Hampshire. That was also the reason Akinola and other African clergy appealed to these largely white congregations.

Revenge of the Hanging Chad
12:00 AM

It's déjà vu all over again. For the seventh successive year the New York Yankees have failed to win the World Series. No wonder it's open season in New York. Repeated failure demands a sacrificial scapegoat. George Steinbrenner may have decided that Joe Torre's head must go, while the media--perplexingly--argues that it's all Alex Rodriguez's fault. These are targets that are obvious and tempting but, nonetheless, inadequate. Yankee fans should aim higher. Can it really be a coincidence that the most-storied and successful team in American sports has failed to win while George W.

What's Your Problem?
12:00 AM

Do conservatives still hate Hillary Clinton?  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

Cheez Dunce
12:00 AM

For tourists, no trip to Philadelphia is complete without stops at Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. For presidential hopefuls, meanwhile, the crucial photo-op takes place a mile or so to the south, near the intersection of Ninth and Wharton Streets: The block occupied by Pat's and Geno's, the dueling cheesesteak titans of South Philadelphia. Where the independence-era sites represent the secular shrines of a nation, the cheesesteak corner reflects the more localized civic religion of unhealthy eating. Ritualized though it may be, the cheesesteak grip 'n' grin occasionally makes news.

October 10, 2007

The Dearborn Debate
12:00 AM

(Update: This post is also available as a web-only article here.) This afternoon's Republican debate in Dearborn, Michigan went pretty much the way the entire campaign has gone lately: A lot of hype about Fred Thompson, but ultimately a contest between Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney. The debate seemed to pass Thompson by. He looked unsteady on his very first response--pausing awkwardly during a riff about the economy--and improved only marginally as the afternoon wore on. Later, Thompson mangled a question about the falling dollar, appearing uncertain as to why the development might be bad.

The Jerk
12:00 AM

What made Ted Stevens such a famously bitter and vindictive man? Some people will tell you that the defining moment in the life of the powerful Alaska Republican senator, currently the target of a federal bribery investigation that threatens to end his storied career in disgrace, occurred at the end of an airport runway in 1978. In early December, Stevens was flying in a friend's small private plane from Juneau to Anchorage. The descending plane was just a few feet above the runway when it was caught by a sudden gust of wind that slammed it into the ground.

Listen Up!
12:00 AM

Mychal Bell, one of six black students jailed last year in Jena, Louisiana for allegedly beating a white classmate, was discharged from prison almost two weeks ago. His release comes in the thick of renewed discussion about race relations in the U.S. prompted by the 20,000-person strong protest in Jena last month. Bell, who has become the face of the "Jena Six," kissed the sky outside the county prison before he headed home for the first time since December. Beside him was the Reverend Al Sharpton, as easy before the press microphones as Bell seemed dazed.

October 09, 2007

Nir Rosen On Iraq
12:00 AM

Nir Rosen has an informative and depressing piece in the new Boston Review about Iraqi refugees and sectarian violence. It's worth reading in full, but this bit near the end caught my eye: It has become popular with former supporters of the war to blame the Iraqis for the Americans' failure. The Iraqis did not choose democracy or the Iraqis did not choose freedom, Americans like to say, or the Iraqis have to decide to stop killing each other or Iraqis have to "step up." But such complaints misplace the blame.