October 03, 2007

Thomas's Comeback

Clarence Thomas is back in the prints, and so is Anita Hill. Before you rush to Hill's corner, let me call your attention to the sympathetic review of a Ken Foskett's book, Judging Thomas: The Life and Times of Clarence Thomas, that appeared in the October 25, 2004 issue of TNR. The review was written by David J. Garrow, that great chronicler of the civil rights movement and the author of Bearing the Cross, a biography of Martin Luther King Jr. It surprised readers then, and it will surprise readers now.

October 02, 2007

Department Of Germans And Pearl Harbor

Campaigning in Iowa yesterday, Fred Thompson explained the wisdom of the Iraq war thus, according to CNN: "We can't forget the fact that although at a particular point in time we never found any WMD down there, [Saddam Hussein] clearly had had WMD," Thompson said. "He clearly had had the beginnings of a nuclear program, and in my estimation his intent never did change."... "Saddam Hussein, today, had we not gone in, would be sitting on this [powder] keg and be in control of the whole thing," Thompson predicted. "He would have been the new dictator of that entire region in my estimation.

A Question For Justice Thomas

In his Washington Post op-ed today, Eugene Robinson makes this key point about the suddenly ubiquitous Clarence Thomas: Thomas said in the interview that the scorched-earth battle over his confirmation wasn't really about him, it was about abortion. Yet at other points he made clear that the whole thing was about him, specifically his commission of the ultimate sin: He is (drum roll, please) a black conservative. The interview in question was the one Thomas gave to Steve Kroft during 60 Minutes on Sunday.

Obama's Speech

Politico has the text. Before he gets to the nuclear abolition bit, he escalates his criticism of Hillary over her Iraq vote (though still without naming her--or John Edwards, to whom the same critique can apply): Some seek to rewrite history. They argue that they weren't really voting for war, they were voting for inspectors, or for diplomacy. But the Congress, the Administration, the media, and the American people all understood what we were debating in the fall of 2002. This was a vote about whether or not to go to war.

More Evidence Of A Secret Clinton Pact?

I'm a little late on this, but here's another comment that stood out when I went over the transcript of Bill Clinton's "Meet the Press" appearance this weekend: I think she's the best suited, best qualified nonincumbent I've had a chance to vote for for president for this moment in time. So I don't want to see her eliminated because, because we've been together for so long, and we've had a life we enjoyed immensely and--because I always thought, when we were going together in law school, I thought--I literally told her she shouldn't marry me because she was more gifted than me at politics.

October 01, 2007

The Military And Academia

The attempt by the country's leading law schools to ban recruiters from the military's Judge Advocate General Corps has long been a self-indulgent and, ultimately, futile effort. "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (the ostensible reason for the schools' ban, something of a cover for these institutions' deeper and decades-long hostility to the military) came about via congressional statute and can only be repealed by Congress.

Spongebob Hunterpants Versus The Ieds

There's a fabulous article in the Washington Post today on the troubled history of our struggle against IEDs in Iraq. Two things stand out. When I think about IEDs, I tend to put mental emphasis on the word "improvised" -- and envision a box with frizzled metal wires sticking out of it, like something you'd see at a high school science fair. The Post piece details just how ingenious and flexible the bomb-makers can be, and how sophisticated the market for them has become.

September 29, 2007

Newt Says Nyet

That lasted all of two days. Newt decides he's not going to raise $30 million in a single month after all: Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich will not run for president in 2008 after determining he could not legally explore a bid and remain as head of his tax-exempt political organization, a spokesman said Saturday.Just last week, Gingrich said he had given himself a deadline of Oct.

Put Your Rifle Locks Back On

Lyle Denniston over at SCOTUSblog reports on a little-noticed development this week: the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals seems to have narrowed its ruling (pdf) from March of this year (which the Supreme Court will likely review) regarding the District's gun laws. The original decision was understood to have invalidated not only D.C.'s ban on handguns, which garnered most of the attention, but also its provision stipulating that all firearms, handguns or otherwise, be disassembled or have trigger locks engaged.

September 28, 2007

'bollinger V. Suzman'

Lee Bollinger clearly considers himself to be a hero. It was so evident in his preening, faux-heroic speech on Monday, in which the Columbia University president valiantly told a Holocaust-denying, homosexual-murdering, genocide-inciting dictator "You exhibit all the signs of a petty and cruel dictator." What courage. Several days ago, I received the following message from Helen Suzman, the legendary South African parliamentarian who spent 36 years in office opposing apartheid, often as the only voice of reason in that body.