June 13, 2007

What Would Ed Gillespie Do?

So it looks like Ed Gillespie is going to work at the White House. Yeah, I know: big whoop. I'm only mentioning it because I wanted an excuse to refer back to something I heard Don King say during those strange days in the 2004 presidential campaign when he was the Bush campaign's liaison to black America. Speaking of the uber-lobbyist and Republican apparatchick, King declared: "[I]n Ed Gillespie you can hear the word of Jesus cry, 'I've been anointed to deal with the problems of the poor!'" It's a wonder he's not going to work for John Edwards. P.S.

In Today's Web Magazine

Jeffrey Rosen shows how Justice Anthony Kennedy has imposed his own morality on the Supreme Court (he also provides a field guide to some of Kennedy's most immodest speeches and opinions); Eric Reeves argues that Tuesday's "breathrough" on Darfur is about to hit a wall; Justin Shubow responds to Merlin Chowkwanyun's article and argues that race is in the genes; Peter Beinart and Jonah Goldberg say that Fred Thompson isn't another Reagan; and Sacha Zimmerman lambastes reality shows for their blatant disregard for the environment. --Alexander M. Belenky

June 11, 2007

Race Against History

It seemed like just another harmless moment on daytime TV: Oprah Winfrey began an "Ask Dr. Oz" segment with the physician Mehmet Oz, and the two arrived at the subject of excessive sweating. Oz cited high blood pressure as a major cause and then asked Winfrey if she knew why black Americans experienced hypertension at disproportionate rates. No problem so far. But then Winfrey answered Oz's question by reviving what scholars have called the "slavery hypothesis" of hypertension.

What Will Fred Thompson Do Next?

From the opening paragraph of Stephen Hayes's new Weekly Standard story on the Republican messiah Fred Thompson: He spends his days raising money and assembling an increasingly sophisticated campaign operation. His advisers hold daily conference calls to discuss issues and to craft a schedule that includes visits to states with early caucuses and primaries. Ooooohhhhhh! Daily conference calls! Look out world! The other Republican candidates should all just drop out now. What amazing thing will the Thompson noncampaign campaign do next? Make bumper stickers? P.S.

No-confidence Party

Chuck Schumer's no-confidence-in-Gonzales vote went down tonight, 53 -38 (falling short of the 60 needed for the increasingly elusive cloture).

June 08, 2007

Shlomo Avineri Writes A Letter To The New York Review Of Books

Well, the June 28 issue of The New York Review of Books has just arrived, and it is not in this issue, either. This is something of a scandal. The "it" to which I refer is a long letter to the editor by Shlomo Avineri. The letter is a devastating rejoinder to an article by George Soros that appeared in the April, 12 issue of the New York Review. The title of Soros's article was "On Israel, America and AIPAC," and it was written partly in response to an article that I had published in TNR on February 12, about Soros and the Jews.

Are We Safer After 9/11?

First Obama and now John Edwards is whacking Hillary's assertion that we are. It's an interesting question, I suppose. But this flap really amounts to classic empty campaign kabuki--or, if you prefer, dog whistle positioning politics. I think nearly everyone would agree that we're safer in some ways (we're watching more closely) and less safe in others (people hate us even more), and that determing which way the scale tips is nearly impossible. What's happening here seems more about center v. left, hawk v. dove politics.

The College Cash Problem

Like healthcare, the cost of college tuition in America has been spiraling out of control in the past decade. And the current college loan scandal only makes that more evident. (My alma mater, Columbia -- which just happens to be at the center of said scandal -- costs around $45,000 for tuition and board; that's about $10,000 more than when I matriculated in 2000). It's terrible, first of all, to prey on financially uninformed young people. But even at good rates, the prospect of taking out tens, even hundreds of thousands in loans, particularly for undergraduate education, is terrifying.

June 07, 2007

Dead of Night
12:00 AM

<?xml:namespace prefix = dsl />In the last hour of any patrol in Baghdad, things start to slow down. Conversations are filled with comfortable silences that stretch themselves out. Everyone gets a little bit restless to head back to beds, food, and relative safety. No one wants anything to happen that would keep us out longer than necessary.That's why I could feel the exasperation in the Humvee when the call went out over the radio one night last December for everyone to stop.

June 06, 2007

Gaza Safer Under Occupation

The Palestinians are desperate. That's old news. Yes, of course, the occupation makes them desperate. But, hey, the occupation of Gaza was liquidated almost two years ago. Not a single Israeli soldier is in Gaza, except for the one captured last summer from over the Israeli border. According to an article by the very savvy Isabel Kershner in todays Times, even Mahmoud Abbas has averred that "the brink of civil war ...