Politics

December 31, 2008

Scared Yet?
12:00 AM

There are so many things that make The Wall Street Journal editorial page a source of personal fascination--the undying faith in voodoo economics, the staunch defense of executive privilege and disdain for independent counsels during Republican presidencies alternating with disdain for executive privilege and staunch defense of independent counsels during Democratic presidencies--but perhaps the most intriguing is the wildly promiscuous use of quotation marks. Over the years, it's become an obsession of mine. Like most of us, the Journal uses scare quotes to signify that a term is misleading.

The Year of the Sports Fan
12:00 AM

The credit market is shut tight. The foreclosure numbers will make you cry. The economy is tanking and getting worse. And amidst all this bad news--hell, because of it--we have a prediction to make: 2009 will be the Year of the Sports Fan. Finally.For far too long, blue-collar fans have had a hard time getting noticed. The Astrodome in Houston might have installed the country’s first luxury box in 1965, but it was around the early ’90s when teams started assiduously catering to business executives. That’s when you began to see candy apple martinis and Caesar salads at the ballpark.

No Bias, Yes Bull
12:00 AM

The other day I played a leading role in a Michelle Malkin syndicated column about liberal media bias. Her complaint provides an interesting glimpse into the feverish workings of the paranoid mind of the far right.Malkin begins by citing a recent Washington Post article about Barack Obama’s fanatical exercise routine. Malkin describes the reporter, Eli Saslow (who she calls Zaslow) as “adoring” and “smitten,” which is the sort of hyperbole you’d expect in this kind of thing. Then comes the gotcha.

Hamas is a Taliban State
12:00 AM

Maybe the Israeli government will concede to a cease-fire. We'll see.But it is clearer in my mind than ever why a cease-fire between Jerusalem and the regime in Gaza will never hold. Even the so-called cease-fire in place since the summer was not remotely close to a true pause in the fighting. That is, in the fighting from the other side of the frontier. Day-in and almost every day-out, rockets were launched from Hamas territory, and Israel did not fight back.

No Bias, Yes Bull
12:00 AM

The other day I played a leading role in a Michelle Malkin syndicated column about liberal media bias. Her complaint provides an interesting glimpse into the feverish workings of the paranoid mind of the far right. Malkin begins by citing a recent Washington Post article about Barack Obama's fanatical exercise routine. Malkin describes the reporter, Eli Saslow (who she calls Zaslow) as "adoring" and "smitten," which is the sort of hyperbole you'd expect in this kind of thing. Then comes the gotcha.

Best Of Tnr 2008: Secrecy And Safety
12:00 AM

Jack Goldsmith, the former head of the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel under the Bush administration, gives an insider perspective on the legality of government sanctioned wiretapping and the possibly dangerous role of the press (citing specifically a 2005-2006 New York Times series of articles) in playing the part of government watchdog:  And then there are the more diffuse harms caused by the Times' revelations.

December 30, 2008

Unpleasant Truths
12:00 AM

There is an ungainly German word, Vergangenheitsbewältigung, that has no equivalent in the English language. It means "coming to terms with past," and it was coined to refer to the efforts of German intellectuals, journalists, and even some politicians who, over the past half century, insisted that facing unpleasant truths about their country's history was both a moral and political necessity.

Move On Up
12:00 AM

Remember Election Day? And especially the day after? The country felt alive, optimistic, and--there’s no avoiding the word--hopeful. After eight long years, Barack Obama was coming to clean up the mess, riding to the White House on a decisive wave of electoral energy. That was November 5. And then ...The past two months have been nothing but bad news occasionally interrupted by worse news. The Dow has fallen another 1,100 points. Mumbai exploded. The financial industry kept imploding, in newly grotesque and criminal ways. Another trillion in taxpayer money was tossed at Wall Street.

After Bush
12:00 AM

WASHINGTON--Social and political epochs rarely end precisely on schedules provided by calendars. Many historians date the end of Europe's 19th century to 1914 and the outbreak of World War I. What we call "The Sixties" in the United States, with its ethos of reform and protest, ended with Richard Nixon's landslide re-election in 1972 and the winding down of the Vietnam War.In the same way, the outcome of this year's election means that 2009 will, finally, mark the beginning of the 21st century.It comes as we face parlous economic conditions and a slew of new threats.

The Floral Majority
12:00 AM

The Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins was gleeful after Richard Cizik, chief lobbyist of the 30-million member National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), was forced to resign on December 11. Perkins and other “family values” leaders had been trying to get rid of Cizik for two years, ever since he launched a campaign to add environmentalism to the evangelical “values” agenda. Though Cizik lost his job over comments endorsing civil unions, not because of his attention to what evangelicals call “creation care,” Perkins still claimed his ouster as a repudiation of the green agenda.

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