Ramesh Ponnuru says I'm being unfair and that the White House opposes the hate-crimes bill because of concerns over federalism, not because the bill would add sexual orientation to the list of protected categories. That might well be true. In the past, people like Barney Frank have claimed that the GOP leadership scuttled versions of the bill mainly because they included protections for gays and lesbians, but hey, it's possible that Frank's wrong and they really were doing so out of a principled concern for federalism.
Martin Peretz praises the vision and analysis of Fouad Ajami; read recent pieces by Ajami here (a review for TNR of Ali Allawi's book on the occupation) and here (an essay for The Wall Street Journal on Iraq); David Fontana argues that Hamdan v. Rumsfeld has been a major disappointment for liberals; David A. Bell handicaps Nicolas Sarkozy and Ségolène Royal for Sunday's election in France; and Peter Beinart and Jonah Goldberg ask if the GOP has inked a deal with the devil on immigration. --Adam B. Kushner
Yesterday, on the anniversary of George W. Bush landing on an aircraft carrier in a flight suit, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino ripped Democrats for a "trumped-up political stunt." How very rich. Actually, Perino's press gaggle yesterday makes for entertaining reading. Here's an excerpt: Q Is there any, shall we say, reluctance on the President's part to actually go through the veto today, being that it's the fourth anniversary of the "mission accomplished" banner, his speech -- MS.
Has George W. Bush ever visited the "White House for Kids" Freedom Timeline vocabulary page? Here's the very first entry: diplomacy n 1: Negotiation between nations 2: Tact and skill in dealing with people. 3: Wisdom in the management of public affairs I'm guessing not. --Michael Crowley
by Sanford Levinson There are readers of Open University who have expressed some unhappiness at my repeated emphasis on the deficiencies of our Constitution. So why indeed do I keep returning to the point, where there are so many other things one might write about: Consider only the ludicrousness of George W. Bush purporting to have the authority to "accept" the Japanese prime minister's mendacious attempts to "apologize" without really taking responsibility for the disgraceful and criminal treatment of Korean women during World War II.
by Richard Stern A bit too much beef on George Tenet. A bit too much of everything, gestures, words, passion, too many professions of devotion to the wonderful men and women of CIA, to his own unremitting labor, his day-and-night brooding about al Qaeda. How this beefy, expressive gentleman has worried about what more he could have done, how prevented 9/11, how capture bin Laden and Zawahiri. God knows he tried: He put the warning of imminent, bloody al Qaeda deeds into Condi Rice's hands weeks and weeks before 9/11, and what did she do but turn it over not to the president but to her deputy?
Media Matters takes us back to May 1, 2003, when the "Mission Accomplished" banner unfurled, the president strutted onto the USS Abraham Lincoln in his parachute harness, and media figures dropped to their knees on live TV. Like this little guy: [CHRIS] MATTHEWS: What do you make of the actual visual that people will see on TV and probably, as you know, as well as I, will remember a lot longer than words spoken tonight? And that's the president looking very much like a jet, you know, a high-flying jet star. A guy who is a jet pilot. Has been in the past when he was younger, obviously.
Timothy Noah points out that former USAID director Randall Tobias is a hypocrite for cavorting with call girls, seeing as how he oversaw USAID's policy of refusing AIDS funding to any group that didn't sign an anti-prostitution loyalty oath. That's an amusing bit of irony, but now seems like a good time to note that the policy really isn't very funny at all. When Congress first told USAID to make all its recipients sign the pledge, in 2003, lawyers at the Justice Department argued that the policy violated the First Amendment and should be ignored.
Sunday's Times reported that Saudi Prince Bandar, then the country's notorious ambassador to the US, simply gave a Jaguar to Colin Powell days after his 2005 resignation as Secretary of State. A incredulous Josh Marshall asks how often this sort of thing happens. From Bob Woodward's State of Denial, here's another instance of Bandar's generosity: When Michael Deaver, one of President Reagan's top White House aides, left the White House to become a lobbyist, First Lady Nancy Reagan, another close Bandar friend, called and asked him to help Deaver.
Eve Fairbanks explains how Harry Reid (an Iraq war moderate) became a dove while Carl Levin (a fierce war opponent) discovered caution; we also post a guide to the candidates' Iraq speeches; Gregg Easterbrook wonders why the press called Cho Seung-Hui a "shooter" rather than a "killer"; Suzanne Nossel says a coalition of China, Russia, and neighboring countries may subvert U.S. attempts to build international alliances; Benjamin Wittes argues that the Supreme Court found a third way on abortion; and John B. Judis fights Comcast so you don't have to. On Saturday, David A.