Scars Of The Cold War

The Cold War was won, symbolically and literally, in two countries...or rather four. East Germany was a satrap of the Soviets in the territory that was the Russian occupied zone of the defeated Reich. It was falsely called the German Democratic Republic.

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Obama's New Ad

His latest Iowa spot focuses on--surprise!--Iraq, and stars Retired Air Force General Merrill McPeak. The general praises Obama for "showing insight and courage others did not" in opposing the war, and declares that "the old Washington hands have let us down.

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Armenian Genocide Update

With the Armenian genocide resolution nearing a vote in the House, Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan spoke with President Bush today.

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It's eleven-thirty on a Thursday morning in the Senate Hart building, and the House-Senate Joint Economic Committee is doing something fairly unprecedented: It's talking about prison reform. Not prison reform in the sense of why-we-need-to-build-more, but why-we-need-to-build-fewer. Curious as to how this came about--as a rule, Congress only gets "tough" on crime, never "soft"--I had asked a staffer, who explained that Chuck Schumer, the committee chair, was letting each member hold his or her own hearing on whatever topic they so desired.

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To the terrors of public speaking--the dry throat, the nervous bladder, the fear that your notes are not in your pocket (even though two copies were there, and a third one folded into your shoe, when you checked 30 seconds ago, and a minute ago, and a minute and 30 seconds ago...), the fear that no one will show up to hear you, the desperate hope that no one will show up to hear you, concern that your material will fill about 20 minutes of the hour you are expected to entertain, alarm that you'll only be halfway through that same material when your hour runs out and the fellow in the first row

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Romney's Dilemma

Robert Novak reports that Romney is getting closer to addressing the elephant in the room: Disagreement remains within the Romney camp, but the consensus is that he must address the Mormon question with a speech deploring bias. Campaign sources say a speech has been written, though 90 percent of it could still be changed. It's not yet determined exactly what he will say or when he'll deliver a speech that could determine the political outcome of 2008. [snip] Romney will have but one shot to get it right.

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Or: How the White House decides who gets jobs--from that great piece on torture in this morning's Times: Among his first tasks at the Justice Department was to find a trusted chief for the Office of Legal Counsel. First he informed Daniel Levin, the acting head who had backed Mr. Goldsmith's dissents and signed the new opinion renouncing torture, that he would not get the job. He encouraged Mr. Levin to take a position at the National Security Council, in effect sidelining him.Mr. Bradbury soon emerged as the presumed favorite. But White House officials, still smarting from Mr.

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Who Is James Dobson?

Focus on the Family leader James Dobson is threatening to take his ball and go home if the GOP dares nominate a pro-choice White House candidate. But Dobson has talked this way before, as I explained in this 2004 Slate "Assessment" of "The Religious Right's New Kingmaker." Come for the politics. Stay for the boy who tried to suck his own-- ...well, just read it. --Michael Crowley

The Kennedys

The Arthur Schlesinger diaries seem to be surprisingly interesting--at least from excerpts this month in The New York Review of Books (subscription only) and Vanity Fair (free). This, however, was pretty funny: March 31, 1962. The White House. The issue of raising children came up. The President, probably in order to provoke Marian and [society hostess] Martha Bartlett, said that he did not see why children should not be brought up in community nurseries. This led to a discussion of the role of the family.

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Bush To Kids: Drop Dead

As expected, President Bush today vetoed a proposed expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP). By now, faithful readers of this website are familiar with the administration's arguments--and the many flaws they contain. (If not, see here and here.) But I can't help but seize on one of the statements Bush just made while making a speech in Lancaster, Pennsylvania: "the policies of the government ought to be to help people find private insurance, not federal coverage." Really?

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