September 11, 2007

Primary Source
12:00 AM

The full text of Joe Biden's opening statement at today's Petraeus-Crocker Senate hearing, after the jump: Six years ago this morning, agents of Al Qaeda attacked the United States of America and murdered 2,998 people. Please join me in a moment of silence for the victims of 9-11. [Moment of silence] Ambassador Crocker, General Petraeus: welcome.

Empty Rhetoric
12:00 AM

In its editorial today on yesterday's Iraq hearing, strangely titled "Empty Calories," the New York Times ended with a typically highfalutin condemnation: The American people deserve more than what the general and the diplomat offered them yesterday. For that matter, they deserve more than what was offered by Representative Ike Skelton, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. When protesters interrupted the hearing, Mr. Skelton ordered them removed from the room, which is understandable. But then he said that they would be prosecuted.

September 10, 2007

Moving On
12:00 AM

Mike's piece on pro-withdrawal efforts in yesterday's Times Magazine had a smart quote about Petraeus's Congressional testimony from MoveOn's Washington director Tom Matzzie: "Most of what we have to do will be done before he lands in Washington," Matzzie told me in late August. "We have to frame his statements before he makes them. He's not Saint Petraeus--he's General Petraeus." Matzzie's right. As a general--much less as the general who came up with the surge strategy--it's virtually inconceivable that Petraeus would go before Congress and say that he can't get the job done.

Change of Heartland
12:00 AM

What's not the matter with Kansas.

Vote First or Die
12:00 AM

Jason Zengerle on the ultimate New Hampshire supremacist.

My Neocon Problem
12:00 AM

A blog called WurstWisdom, railing against the neoconservative domination of the planet, recently contained the following passage: "There are other Neocons or Neocon facilitators you may not have heard of because they are seldom in the public eye, the better to wield behind-the-scenes power. These include Grover Norquist, Richard Viguerie, John Bolton, Elliot Abrams, Norman Ornstein …" It was extremely disappointing to have my cover blown in this fashion.

Earnest Goes to Washington
12:00 AM

Chuck Grassley's suspicion of institutional power.

Bang Galore
12:00 AM

Be careful what you wish for. That is the lesson of the Bush administration's newly unveiled deal to provide India with nuclear fuel and technology. For years, opponents of the White House's foreign policy have called for more diplomacy--for further inspections in Iraq, for direct talks with North Korea, for any talks whatsoever on Iran's nuclear program. Now it appears that, in eschewing negotiation, the Bush administration was doing the United States a favor. Because, when the Bushies negotiate, they're extremely dangerous. Let's start with the very purpose of the agreement. Although U.S.

September 09, 2007

A War By Any Other Name
12:00 AM

The arrest of Muslim terrorists planning attacks in Germany and Denmark should remind those who need reminding that highly organized enemies of liberal society stalk the earth. In the German case where American intelligence worked hand-in-hand with Berlin's interior ministry, there was already operative a model of international cooperation that Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards has proposed be institutionalized among like-minded societies. It seems a fine idea and is worth examining.

September 08, 2007

Levitt On The Mortgage Crisis
12:00 AM

On Thursday, I posted a Spine calling attention to two elements of the current discussion on the disintegration of the mortgage markets and the stock markets. The first was the article in TNR by Joshua Rosner about the culpability of the ratings agencies who'd given AAA marks to funds and companies that were about to go bust. My second subject may look like a side-item, but it isn't. The fact that Moody's had collapsed from $76 to $46 on Thursday is a sign that investors know what this largest of the raters is: a big fraud.