August 13, 2008
Nothing good can ever come from responding to a book review, I’m told. Still, Harvard law professor Jack Goldsmith is too smart a man to simply ignore.The ironic thing about Goldsmith’s lengthy critique of my book, Bush’s Law: The Remaking of American Justice, is that Goldsmith and I agree about far more than we disagree. The Bush administration’s penchant for secrecy and the lack of transparency in its war on terror, he writes, were damaging and self-defeating. This is a central theme of his book, The Terror Presidency, and a central theme of mine as well.
Earlier this summer, when the Obama campaign announced that Jason Furman was joining its staff as director of economic policy, the storyline seemed to write itself: Centrist adviser will pull Obama to the right. Furman had first made a name for himself as a wonky twentysomething wunderkind in the later years of the Clinton administration--a period when, to the consternation of many liberals, Clinton emphasized balanced budgets, free trade, and welfare reform.
The TNR Q&A: Charles Fairbanks
As Russia agreed to a ceasefire on Tuesday, saying its invasion of Georgia has “punished” the country enough, TNR’s Seyward Darby spoke with Charles Fairbanks, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and former deputy assistant secretary in the Department of State (as well as being the father of our Associate Editor, Eve Fairbanks), who spends six months of the year teaching at Ilia Chavchavadze State University in Georgia. Fairbanks describes the war as “deeply, deeply depressing,” with far-reaching implications that will influence policy in the last months of President George W.
Rita Is For Obama!
No, not Rita Hayworth. She's been dead more than 20 years. It's Rita Hauser. Rita Hauser? Yes, Rita Hauser. Who did you say? Rita Hauser. Hauser: H-A-U-S-E-R. She's a Repubican, and it's good news that Republicans are voting for Obama. For example, former congressman Jim Leach of Iowa and former senator Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, have also endorsed Obama, although Chafee may be the dumbest official person I've ever met, bar none. It's true that they both were defeated for re-election. But a Republican is a Republican. The article (by Edward Luce) reporting these endorsements in
Mccain And Reed
I suppose it's long past obvious that McCain doesn't play like this anymore, but surely the year 2000 version would have denounced Ralph Reed--a chief villain in the Abramoff scandal that McCain doggedly pursued--and declared his presence and assistance unwelcome at his fundraiser, no? Quick Reed flashback here: McCain, as chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, launched an investigation of Abramoff's tribal lobbying that turned up a mountain of e-mails, including some between Reed and Abramoff. The e-mails revealed Abramoff's corrupt dealings with politicians, as well as conservativ
August 12, 2008
Pain at the Port
One morning in May, Governor Tim Kaine stood in a Danville, Virginia, parking lot, sawing a log in half with Ikea executive Bruno Winborg. The log-cutting, a Swedish good-luck tradition, was part of the opening ceremony for the Scandinavian furniture giant’s first North American plant, a 930,000-square-foot facility that will keep Americans well-supplied with BILLY bookcases and BESTA entertainment centers for years to come.Ikea’s rural Virginia factory should be convincing evidence that globalization is on the march.
Eric Lichtblau is right that I agree with him on some matters related to the Bush presidency. But on the crucial question raised by his book--whether the press can be trusted to monitor secret government activity wisely--we do not agree. In defending his paper’s--and his own--record, Lichtblau talks only about the Times' original December 2005 story on the Terrorist Surveillance Program.
How the West Botched Georgia
The guns around Tbilisi have now fallen silent. Efforts are underway to finalize a truce between Russia and Georgia to end Moscow’s bloody invasion. It is time for the West to look in the mirror and ask: What went wrong? How did this disaster happen? Make no mistake. While this is first and foremost a disaster for the people and government of Georgia, it is also a disaster for the West--and for the U.S. in particular. After all, Georgia was, in a fairly basic sense, our project. The Rose Revolution was inspired by American ideals--and prodding.
The Poet And The People
I know little enough Hebrew and no Arabic at all. But two very recent articles in the Times (one last Thursday the other on Sunday) relating to both languages caught my eye. The first, about the revolutionary re-emergence and the subsequent development of modern Hebrew, was the umpteenth instance of Isabel Kershner's published doubts about the very future of Israel. It's a strangely obsessive trope for one of the Times' chief correspondents in the country. But doubt about Zionism goes back in the history of the Times for maybe a century.
August 11, 2008
Last Saturday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released its long-awaited estimate that 56,300 Americans are infected with the HIV virus every year. This supplants CDC’s longstanding official estimate of 40,000, which had been in place for many years. The announcement that the government underestimated HIV incidence--the rate of new HIV infections--by 40 percent is less surprising than you might suppose. One might conclude that the epidemic is getting worse, or that CDC screwed up. But neither is right. HIV incidence has actually been stable over the past decade.