December 02, 2008
Can Holder Speak Truth To Power?
Ezra Klein, building on this Richard Cohen column about Eric Holder's role in the Marc Rich Pardon, says no: I'm not one who thinks the attorney general should be some sort of lone renegade within the administration, but he should feel empowered to aggressively push back against abuses of presidential power. Holder's history offers little evidence of that sort of temperament. I think these are very legitimate concerns.
Obama announces that Louis Caldera, a Secretary of the Army during the Clinton administration and a Hillary Clinton backer during the '08 primaries, will be his Director of the White House Military Office. Not a huge job, but interesting nonetheless. It seems one of the key Clintonites to keep an eye right now is Wendy Sherman, a Clinton-era State Department official who's now the head of Obama's State Department review team.
December 01, 2008
What Jefferson Said
Americans this year were confronted by a near-record 174 ballot propositions, many hitting the usual hot buttons: same-sex marriage, illegal immigration, abortion, etc. Nearly lost in this deluge were three unusual--and very intriguing--referenda on whether state constitutional conventions should be called. Voters in Connecticut, Hawaii, and Illinois had to decide--as they’re required to by their state constitutions every ten or 20 years--whether they were satisfied with their states’ foundational documents or wanted to revamp them.
Hawks for Hillary
When news first leaked that Hillary Clinton was being considered for secretary of state, some of the most vocal responses came from the right--and they weren't exactly negative.
November 29, 2008
In the wake of the coordinated terror attacks this week in Mumbai, many Indian and Western observers seemed shocked by the brutality and skill of the attackers. But the terror strikes should not have come as such a surprise. After years of largely avoiding the kind of sophisticated Islamist terror that has been the hallmark of Al Qaeda, in the past year India has become, as much as Europe or the United States, a frontline in the global war on terror.
November 28, 2008
"We've Never Felt Scared"
As an Indian Christian, I occasionally remind my Jewish friends that I owe my faith to them. Indian tradition maintains that a few years after Christ’s death, one of his apostles, Thomas (“the Doubter’), sailed to the southern Indian state of Kerala to share the Good News with his co-religionists. Jews have lived in India for thousands of years, perhaps arriving on a mission from the court of King Solomon to trade in “elephant’s tooth, peacocks and apes”. The Jews of Cochin are said to have been less than receptive to Thomas’s message, though he did make many other converts.
Barack H.W. Obama
WASHINGTON--In electing Barack Obama, the country traded the foreign policy of the second President Bush for the foreign policy of the first President Bush.That is the meaning of Obama's apparent decision to keep Robert Gates on as secretary of defense and also to select Hillary Clinton as secretary of state.With strong ties to the military and a carefully cultivated image of tough-mindedness, Clinton will protect the incoming president's back from those on the right ready to pounce at any sign of what they see as weakness.As for Gates, Obama has found the ideal figure to help him organize his
November 27, 2008
Dispatch From An Anxious Mumbai
As columns of smoke rose from the Italianate dome of the Taj Mahal hotel in downtown Mumbai on Wednesday night, I came upon a woman standing a short distance away from the building, waiting for her friends trapped inside. She’d just ordered a steak when she heard gunfire as terrorists stormed through the establishment. The woman, who had been rescued through a window by the fire brigade after hours of hiding under a table, said that her name was Dalbir Bains. I recognised it from the society pages of the newspapers.
They Fall One By One
The cons and the neo-cons had worked themselves into such a hysteria that one might have imagined Barack Obama would invite Dr. Ahmadinejad for a house visit. Maybe not at the White House but certainly at Blair House. Even Commentary seems to be questioning the fearful anticipations of the crowd, or at least Peter Wehner, one of the regular commentators on the magazine's website, Contentions, is. And this was before a statement on Mumbai was issued in Obama's name.
No, this is not correspondence from Shimon Peres to Manmohan Singh. It was actually written by Steven Plaut, an economist at the University of Haifa, as an approximation of what Peres would write to Singh if he were to encapsulate his own thinking on how Israel should deal with the Palestinians and extrapolate this to how India might deal with extremist Muslims. Dear Mr. Prime Minister, My heartfelt sympathies to you and the Indian people for the Bombay/Mumbai unrest and protests against occupation this week.