August 15, 2005

Strike Out

Michael Mazarr argues why attacking Iran is a bad idea.

August 08, 2005

Moral Hazard
12:00 AM

Existential Crisis DEMOCRACY HAS BECOME George W. Bush's reflexive answer to terrorism. Before the wreckage left by the July 7 bombings in London had even cooled, he broke from the G-8 summit in Scotland to explain how we would defeat the perpetrators of such attacks: "We will spread an ideology of hope and compassion that will overwhelm their ideology of hate." Four days later, he elaborated, "Today in the Middle East, freedom is once again contending with an ideology that seeks to sow anger and hatred and despair.

TRB From Ann Arbor: Body Politics
12:00 AM

A pizza delivery car cruises down a leafy suburban street as a man in a black overcoat and a red power tie scampers after it, waving a piece of paper. "Trial lawyers used to only chase ambulances," explains a voice-over. "Now they're chasing restaurant deliveries to cash in on obesity."Even if you haven't seen this advertisement, you may understand the message. Over the last few years, attorneys have been filing lawsuits on behalf of obese consumers, claiming that restaurants and the food industry should be held legally responsible for making people fat.

August 01, 2005

Minimal Appeal
12:00 AM

Even after his nomination to the Supreme Court, the president's nominee, John Roberts, remains a mystery. By all accounts, he's a wonderful person and a first-rate legal mind. But he has been a judge for only two years, and his public record is thin. In order to determine what kind of justice he will be, it helps to understand the philosophical camps that have shaped modern constitutional theory. Over the past century, justices have come in four varieties. Majoritarians prefer to uphold the decisions of other branches of government unless those decisions clearly violate the Constitution.

Secret Passion
12:00 AM

'We did not want a fight," Ralph Neas was saying to a reporter on his cell phone. "However, if he picks a fight, we are ready." It was the evening of July 19, less than an hour before word leaked that George W. Bush would nominate John Roberts to the Supreme Court. Neas was sitting in the green room at MSNBC, waiting for his appearance on "Hardball." It was the first of three TV studios he would blaze through in the next four hours as a go-to pundit on the nomination.

July 25, 2005

Miranda Rights
12:00 AM

On a recent morning in Washington, Manuel Miranda was plotting conservative strategy for the upcoming Supreme Court nomination wars from the cluttered living room of his Capitol Hill townhouse. He sat crammed behind a small desk by the window, cordless phone to his ear, leading a conference call of some 50 grassroots Republican activists across the country. These were generally hardcore, pro-life conservatives, people dead-set against allowing George W.

Notebook: Divine Intervention
12:00 AM

The July 7 New York Times has an op-ed hashing out what the Catholic Church thinks of all things Darwinian. The author, Christoph Schonborn, is a preeminent Vatican scholar and, incidentally, one of the cardinals who was favored for the papacy after John Paul II died. He's also, as I've previously pointed out, considered something of a liberal. Which is why it's strange to see Schonborn get so prickly about claims of the Church's "supposed acceptance" of evolution.

July 11, 2005

The Case Against New Ideas
12:00 AM

Ideas--the idea of ideas, anyway--have always held a lofty place in our political culture. But perhaps never before have they been imbued with such power as at this particular moment. Since last November, conservatives have been braying about their victory in the war of ideas, often with a whiff of Marxian assurance. "Conservatism is the ideology of the future," gloated Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman.

July 04, 2005

Primary Concern
12:00 AM

If last week's sagging poll numbers on Iraq marked the return of the war as a political issue, then Democrats found themselves playing the role of Wal-Mart greeters, gamely ushering it through the door. This month, several House Democrats have initiated resolutions calling on the White House to develop an exit strategy for Iraq. Elsewhere in the Capitol--or, more precisely, in the basement below it--Michigan Representative John Conyers recently staged a mock hearing on the war.

June 27, 2005

College Try
12:00 AM

"That's him over there." It's just after noon on the day before delegates to the College Republican National Committee (CRNC) are scheduled to elect a new chairman, and campaign workers for Michael Davidson have finally spotted his opponent, the current CRNC treasurer Paul Gourley. The College Republicans have taken over a floor of the Crystal Gateway Marriot in Arlington, Virginia, clogging hallways and conference rooms with professional-quality campaign paraphernalia and well-coiffed twentysomethings in business attire.