June 01, 2007

Head Fake

The president's "new" climate strategy turns out to be utterly vacuous. Stunning, I know. Instead of setting hard targets for emissions reductions, the United States will convene a bunch of meetings from now until 2009, and everyone will sit around and talk about voluntary goals.

May 31, 2007

The Hariri Tribunal

According to a Reuters dispatch on Wednesday, the UN Security Council has finally set up a tribunal to prosecute the murder two years ago of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri. The vote was ten affirmative, with five abstaining. The five were Russia, China, Qatar, Indonesia and South Africa, fast becoming a notable diplomatic laughing stock in a world where there are all plenty of them. Aside to see that justice is done to Hariri's killers and the 22 others who died in 2005 bombing, the measure is aimed at disentangling Syrian suzerainty from Lebanon.

May 30, 2007

Lower Education

I am not a big fan of those surveys ranking restaurants, doctors, lawyers, hairdressers, beers, and ice creams. I don't think much more of the surveys ranking universities and research institutions either. But when the faculties of three British universities initiate a boycott of all of the universities of one whole nation--in this case, you guessed it, of Israel-- I begin to think: What are those universities, anyway?

I Think I've Seen This Show Before

I don't have time to write a long post on this, but I wanted to get this out there before someone else beat me to it: Fred Thompson is to the Republicans in '08 as Wes Clark was to the Democrats in '04. In other words, the highpoint of his campaign will be the day he gets in the race, because once he's a serious candidate--and not just the fevered daydream of a dissatisfied base--voters will realize he's not all that. Remember, you heard it here first.

In Today's Web Magazine

Jonathan Cohn is disappointed by Barack Obama's universal health care plan; Jonathan Chait reads the new AEI magazine, which loves white-collar criminals, Third-World dictators, and global-warming deniers; Eric Reeves criticizes President Bush for imposing toothless sanctions on Sudan; Kenneth Baer proposes that we abolish the system by which we nominate presidential candidates; Peter Beinart and Jonah Goldberg discuss Robert Novak's various personas; and Joshua Kurlantzick has the final word in his sparring match with Peter Navarro on China. --Alexander M. Belenky

May 29, 2007

Redefining Success

For some time now, people have been saying that, when Gen. David Petraeus testifies about the "surge" in September, Republicans are going to start hopping off the war train if things haven't turned around. (That was supposedly the upshot of the meeting between 11 House Republicans and President Bush earlier this month.) But that left open the possibility that the White House would just send Petraeus to Congress to claim success no matter what was happening. And, according to Julian Barnes of the Los Angeles Times, that's precisely what's going to happen: U.S.

May 28, 2007

Behind The Times
12:00 AM

Hillary Clinton spent last weekend in Iowa; in fact, she had no choice. After The New York Times published a confidential memo from her deputy campaign manager, Mike Henry, arguing that her campaign should skip the Iowa caucuses, she had to reassure the most sensitive group of voters in the nation that she would pay them due respect.

Barnes Watch

"Comprehensive" immigration fan Fred Barnes (he, um, tends to take the White House's line) has a new piece on conservatives balking at the compromise bill working its way through the senate. Here's his lede: Don't listen to Teddy Kennedy. If you belong to the small band of conservative brothers inclined to support immigration reform, the Massachusetts senator is on your side. But what he says is likely to make you anxious, vexed, or even crazed.

Holiday News Dump Alert

White House political director Sara Taylor--a Karl Rove loyalist who apparently had a fishy role in the US Attorney scandal--is leaving the administration. --Michael Crowley

May 27, 2007

From Lincoln Bedroom To Acapulco

Remember the Lincoln Bedroom? Sure, it was part of the Republican talking points during the Clinton administration, when the White House was described as being something akin to a Motel 8, mentioned in the same breath as Vince Foster, Whitewater and Arkansas state troopers. But there was always something unseemly about the Clintons using the presidential residence as a barter system for Democratic party (and, more specifically, Friends of Bill) bigwigs.