February 28, 2007
Eli Lake is a good reporter, but his latest opinion piece in The New York Sun is seriously misguided. Lake is angry that liberal politicians and writers are voicing apologies for having supported the Iraq war: What the apologists are asking for, if only by default, is a return to the amorality of detente and Realpolitik. Again, Iraq demonstrates this.
As if you needed any more reasons to dislike Pat Riley . . . from the Reuters account of the Miami Heat's visit to the White House: Riley gave Bush a jersey and then told the audience: "I voted for the man. If you don't vote you don't count." Addressing reporters later, Riley denied that he had injected politics into the ceremony. "I'm pro-American, pro-democracy, I'm pro-government," the coach said. "I follow my boss.
February 26, 2007
On November 11, two men in green uniforms arrived at the home of Abakar Yussuf, then ordered his wife outside. "When she came out, they shot her in the back and she fell to the ground and died," Yussuf told Amnesty International. "They then took her by her feet and pulled her back into the house and set fire to it. ... When I returned to find my wife's body, all that was left were her bones." Four days later, in the same Chadian village, attackers threw Abdoulaye Khamis's 80-year-old brother into a hut they had set on fire. "I ran back ... and tried to save my brother," Khamis explained.
A new book about Nixon and China is out, and sure enough glowing words of praise for the former President and his debonair national security advisor are all over the newspapers. Orville Schell's review in The Washington Post is probably the most annoying of the bunch. This passage in particular caught my eye: So only a realist could go to China. A more sentimental or moralistic diplomat might well have been thrown off course by the thought of dealing with a Leninist dictatorship that had afflicted its people with almost every imaginable indignity in the name of Marxist revolution.
At Long Last, Sir
Joe Lieberman has an op-ed in today's Wall Street Journal. I found this passage particularly incredible: Will we allow our actions to be driven by the changing conditions on the ground in Iraq--or by the unchanging political and ideological positions long ago staked out in Washington? Unchanging political and ideological positions long ago staked out in Washington?
Who Controls Pakistan's Nukes?
Most policymakers and pundits don't seem to know how to deal with Pakistan. (I certainly don't.) On the one hand, the United States wants Musharraf to be more aggressive about hunting down Al Qaeda operatives in North Waziristan. On the other hand, moving too aggressively against that part of the country might cause Musharraf's government to collapse, in which case radical Islamists could seize power--and with it, control of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal.
February 23, 2007
The Clintons And Money
I came down with Clinton fatigue somewhere near the end of the first term. I don't mean to one-up my friend David Geffen in this. He is not as temperamentally judgmental as I am, and--after all--he did have a more intimate station from which to view Bill and Hillary. If you're close to the first family when it is in the White House you are bound to a certain discretion. But, as someone once said, intimacy breeds contempt ... so, it follows, that longer-time intimacy breeds greater contempt.
Next week, the House will vote on the Employee Free Choice Act, which would allow employees in a workplace to organize as soon as a majority signed cards saying they wanted to do so. (Currently, workers have to go through NLRB-supervised elections that are prone to employer manipulation.) Opponents of card-check argue that labor bosses will just coerce employees into signing the cards, although as Ezra Klein points out, research shows that union intimidation during card-check elections is far, far less common than undue management pressure under the current system.
February 19, 2007
Requiring people to buy health insurance as if it were a driver's license has become the health care policy initiative du jour. This "individual mandate" model got its first official embrace when former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, working with his Democratic state legislature, used such a scheme to cover all state residents. In January, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger proposed to implement a similar program.
On Dismissing Failed Executives
by Sanford LevinsonGenerally, I am not taken by comparisons of government with business. That most leaders have never met payrolls usually is of no importance to me. That being said, I do find myself increasingly interested in the responses of businesses, in a variety of realms, when confronted with what is perceived (sometimes inaccurately, of course) as the failure of executives to take the company forward.