Politics

December 24, 2008

Shame Cycle
12:00 AM

WASHINGTON--Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe has been blaming the cholera epidemic that has already killed 1,100 people and may have infected 20,000 others, along with a famine that threatens another 5 million, on--who else?--Western colonialism. But both are of his own making and should shame most of the 14 governments, led by South Africa, that make up the Southern African Development Community. They have abetted the world's most evil ruler.Zimbabwe was once one of Africa's promising economies.

December 23, 2008

Into the Fold
12:00 AM

Blacks’ heavy support for the proposition banning same-sex marriage in California pointed up an awkward disjunction between progressive ideals and majority black opinion. And, similarly, Barack Obama’s choice of Rick Warren to do the invocation at his inaugural ceremony forces us to attend yet again to the sometimes discomfitingly partial overlap between Blue American bona fides and black authenticity.

Big Tent
12:00 AM

WASHINGTON--By inviting Pastor Rick Warren to give the inaugural invocation, President-elect Barack Obama has alienated some of his friends on the left.

Losing Lhasa
12:00 AM

Last month, in a unique display of direct democracy, Tibetans from all over the world gathered in the Indian hill town of Dharamsala, home of the Dalai Lama and many other exiled Tibetans, to debate Tibet's future. For days, monks, businessmen, students, and many other Tibetans discussed how Tibet should respond to Chinese repression--whether it should continue an ongoing dialogue with Beijing about a future that would mean autonomy under Chinese rule, or abandon dialogue and return to a hard-core, separatist push for independence. But the dialogue was somewhat off point.

Blagojevich Pathos In The Obama Report
12:00 AM

The just-released report on the Transition's contacts with Blagojevich includes the following passage:  On November 7, 2008 -- at a time when she was still a potential candidate for the Senate seat -- Ms. Jarrett spoke with Mr. Tom Balanoff, the head of the Illinois chapter of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). ... Mr. Balanoff told Ms. Jarrett that he had spoken to the Governor about the possibility of selecting Valerie Jarrett to replace the President-Elect. He told her that Lisa Madigan’s name also came up. Ms. Jarrett recalls that Mr.

What The Secret Service Could Learn From Brangelina
12:00 AM

Having spent all of its time and energy protecting presidents from would-be assassins, it's understandable the Secret Service wouldn't be so good at protecting them from the papaparazzi. But, with Obama as big a celebrity as Brangelina, the Secret Service might want to take some pointers from Brangelina themselves. A couple years ago I wrote a piece for New York Magazine about the paparazzi's pursuit of what was then called "the Holy Grail of celebrity journalism"--i.e., the first photo of the Brangelina Baby (who now goes by the name Shiloh).

December 22, 2008

Is Biden's Star Fading?
12:00 AM

At the risk of annoying Jay Carney, one of the menschiest guys in Washington, I can't help wondering if Biden is losing influence. That, at least, was my first thought when I heard he'll be heading Obama's middle-class task force. As the Times notes, "The task force is the first discrete assignment for Mr. Biden." That doesn't sound ominous on its face. But you have to consider the conditions under which Biden accepted the veep job.

December 21, 2008

Gop Economics Explained--plus, Bonus Bush Pathos
12:00 AM

Today's installment of the Times "Reckoning" series offers a useful and accurate (if not entirely comprehensive--they would have needed several thousand more words) take on the Bush administration's contribution to the financial crisis. The basic story is that, under Bush, the federal government aggressively pushed subprime borrowers into homes while at the same time hacking away regulations that might have sussed out the shakiest mortgages. As the Times sums it up: From his earliest days in office, Mr.

December 20, 2008

Obama's New Pastor Problem?
12:00 AM

In reacting to Barack Obama’s decision to invite Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at his inaugural, the left has been focusing on Obama’s decision to offer, while the right has been focusing on Warren’s decision to accept. The right has it right. There are two facets of American evangelicalism that ought to be worrisome to conservatives. One is that evangelicals are breaking out of the comfortable counter-culture they have established for themselves over the years.

Obama's New Pastor Problem?
12:00 AM

In reacting to Barack Obama's decision to invite Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at his inaugural, the left has been focusing on Obama's decision to offer, while the right has been focusing on Warren's decision to accept. The right has it right. There are two facets of American evangelicalism that ought to be worrisome to conservatives. One is that evangelicals are breaking out of the comfortable counter-culture they have established for themselves over the years.

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