August 24, 2007

Kinsley On Scully On Gerson...

Mark me down as agreeing with Michael Kinsley on the Mike Gerson hatchet job the Atlantic ran this month. Like Kinsley, I thought the offenses catalogued by Matt Scully, Gerson's former White House speechwriting colleague, were pretty miniscule. Aside from a certain exhibitionist allure--which is, of course, why it was the first thing I turned to, and why I read straight through in one sitting--the piece had little to offer. As Kinsley points out, it's Scully, rather than Gerson, who comes off looking like the prick here.

August 23, 2007

Blast Off

Apart from razing the Appalachian landscape, polluting thousands of rivers and streams, devastating local communities, and increasing erosion and flooding in the surrounding areas, there's really not a whole lot to love about the mountaintop-removal method of coal mining. Here's the latest in a long, long line of White House moves to bolster the technique: The Bush administration is set to issue a regulation on Friday that would enshrine the coal mining practice of mountaintop removal. The technique involves blasting off the tops of mountains and dumping the rubble into valleys and streams.

Jerusalem As The Center Of The World

The characteristic mappamundi of the Renaissance directed the eye towards Jerusalem, usually as the apex of three spheres of the material world. But this was really, as the scholar Richard Padron has argued, "the cartography of ecclesiastical mapmakers more interested in orienting the soul towards heaven than in directing the body through the physical world." Once again, Jerusalem sits in the heads of many people --politicians, scribes, sheer mischief makers--as the center of the universe awaiting concrete tenderings without which the world will have no peace.

August 22, 2007

Because Bubbles Don't Build Themselves

From today's WaPo: A White House manual that came to light recently gives presidential advance staffers extensive instructions in the art of "deterring potential protestors" from President Bush's public appearances around the country. Among other things, any event must be open only to those with tickets tightly controlled by organizers. Those entering must be screened in case they are hiding secret signs. Any anti-Bush demonstrators who manage to get in anyway should be shouted down by "rally squads" stationed in strategic locations.

August 21, 2007

Dueling Ledes

Two different views of the same news event: SENATOR CALLS FOR MALIKI'S OUSTERDeclaring the government of Iraq "non-functional," the influential chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee said yesterday that Iraq's parliament should oust Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and his cabinet if they are unable to forge a political compromise with rival factions in a matter of days. ... [Senator Carl] Levin's comments to reporters followed the release of a joint statement with the second-ranking Republican on the Armed Services Committee, Sen. John W.

August 20, 2007

Sam Nunn For President?

Apparently he's thinking about a run on a Unity '08 ticket. It's an intriguing notion, and I find Nunn quite impressive in many ways--above all for his fixation on nuclear terrorism. But having interviewed him a few times earlier in the year, I didn't get much sense that he's got the stomach for the vulgarities of the modern political process, which is what he says drove him out of the Senate in the first place.

Rove In His Perma-bunker

Aside from the expression on Chris Wallace's face when he realized he was questioning a lunatic, my two favorite parts of Fox's Karl Rove interview were as follows: WALLACE: Forgive me. I don't want to re-fight the Cleland race in Georgia in 2002. I want to ask a bigger question, though, because this was far from the only time that you called--you--called Democrats soft on terror.

Liberals Vs. Wittes

Scott Lemieux (surprise, surprise) is not a fan of Benjamin Wittes's article up on TNR Online today. Nor is Matt Yglesias. The basic argument they make is that Wittes is being naive-that the Bush administration will simply use the broad language of the new wiretapping law to justify anything and everything it wants to do, rather than attempt to apply it in a fair-minded fashion. Given the administration's fondness for untrammeled executive power, their concern is certainly justified. In fact, Wittes himself acknowledged as much in a TNR Online piece from two weeks ago.

Freedom's False Ring
12:00 AM

Rudy Giuliani says, "Preserving and extending American ideals must remain the goal of all U.S. policy, foreign and domestic," and he's not alone. Lots of our leaders think everyone should want what we want. Saying otherwise puts you among President Bush's vile "some," who deny that "every time people are given a choice, they choose freedom." Yet people--even Americans--sometimes don't, and forcing them can prove disastrous. Or such is the theme of a brace of new books by a couple of non-Americans nervous about U.S.

August 19, 2007

Rich And Rove

Frank Rich, mailing it in: It is this condemnation of Rove from his own ideological camp--not the Democrats' familiar litany about his corruption, polarizing partisanship, dirty tricks, etc.--that the White House and Mr. Rove wanted to bury in the August dog days.[Italics Mine] Sunday talk show guest list: Fox News Sunday: Karl RoveMeet The Press: Karl RoveFace The Nation: Karl Rove --Isaac Chotiner