May 14, 2009

Will Mcchrystal Invade Pakistan?

This is interesting. Last November, the New York Times revealed a secret Bush administration order that authorized commando incursions into Pakistani territory. President Obama's new Afghanistan commander shows up in the piece: Former military and intelligence officials said that Lt. Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, who recently completed his tour as head of the Joint Special Operations Command, had pressed for years to win approval for commando missions into Pakistan.

May 13, 2009

Is Nancy Pelosi Lying?
12:00 AM

Seems so. CNN is reporting: A source close to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi now confirms that Pelosi was told in February 2003 by her intelligence aide, Michael Sheehy, that waterboarding was actually used on CIA detainee Abu Zubaydah. This appears to contradict Pelosi's account that she was never told waterboarding actually happened, only that the administration was considering using it. Sheehy attended a briefing in which waterboarding was discussed in February 2003, with Rep.

Blaming Jews For The Financial Crisis
12:00 AM

Just in time for Jewish-American Heritage Month, here's a bit of disturbing news from the Boston Review (HT: Brainiac): "In order to assess explicit prejudice toward Jews, we directly asked respondents “How much to blame were the Jews for the financial crisis?” with responses falling under five categories: a great deal, a lot, a moderate amount, a little, not at all.

A Peek Into What Health Care Reform Will Look Like
12:00 AM

In advance of a meeting scheduled for Thursday, the Senate Finance Committee has released a 62-page description of policy options for expanding health insurance coverage. It is a revealing document, because we can glean from it the outlines of where the process now stands in the Senate--the body that will determine whether President Obama's top domestic priority lives or dies. Here is some of what we learn: 1. There is a substantial amount of bipartisan common ground, at least between committee chair Max Baucus and ranking member Charles Grassley. 2.

A Nudge For Justice Stevens
12:00 AM

A couple of days ago, Richard Primus made the case for older, more experienced justices on the high court and laid out an ambitious plan for realizing that goal. Fair enough, but I feel it's only reasonable to make a more targeted plea for, let us say, the "most experienced" of the current justices to start planning his exit strategy. At an impressive 89 years old, Justice John Paul Stevens really should start thinking about dipping into that retirement fund. Not this year, maybe. Obama will have enough excitement getting Justice Souter's replacement squared away.

Communized Medicine
12:00 AM

China has two big problems: first, to revive its own economy, it can no longer rely on rising American consumer spending; it has to find ways to boost its own domestic consumption; second, to still growing unrest among its populace, it is going to have to find some way to spread the wealth that has so far been concentrated among the country’s urban business and political classes.  One answer to both these problems is a national health care system.Under Mao’s Communism, China used to have a national healthcare system.  It was derided in the West for its “barefoot doctors” who would sometimes la

Gates And Obama
12:00 AM

Smart take on the relationship from a reader who handles these issues: The way I see it, Obama has given Gates a free hand to pursue a defense budgeting strategy that Gates has long wanted, but rarely discussed by Senator Obama or Presidential Candidate Obama. Gates has been permitted to do this even though the Administration is getting major heat from Congressional barons on cuts to favored weapons programs.  Also, Obama is giving Gates  a free hand on war strategy, as evidenced by the McKiernan firing. So, if I were Gates, I would be pretty happy.

Rush Limbaugh's Kidneys
12:00 AM

One of the reasons I find Kathleen Parker's columns enjoyable is that, in an op-ed sea dominated by seriously elite and/or ultra-intellectual types, she writes like a normal person. Today's offering, for instance, takes a nice and easy poke at hard-core literalists--a hypersensitive, eternally-looking-for-offense breed that I myself find about as much fun as, though far less useful than, a good colonscopy.  Specifically, Parker expresses exasperation at all the hyperventilating over Wanda Sykes' below-the-belt jabs at Rush Limbaugh at the White House Correspondents' Dinner last Saturday.

May 12, 2009

Battle Plans
12:00 AM

As Barack Obama tries to avoid the mistakes Bill Clinton made on gays in the military, the new president's hesitation is already causing damage: Last week came news that yet another Arabic language specialist is about to be dismissed for homosexuality, the first under the new White House. What's more, advocates of repeal are now facing political blow-back: Recently, over 1,000 retired officers released a letter claiming that ending the ban could "break" the armed forces.

Tnr Slideshow: All The President's Artists
12:00 AM

Between Alvin Ailey and tonight's first-ever White House poetry jam, the Obamas seem to be keeping their promise to fill the "people's house" with culture. But what artists have previous presidents privileged? From JFK and Pablo Casals to Reagan and the Beach Boys, click through today's TNR slideshow for the White House's iconic cultural moments. -- Elizabeth Sher Photo courtesy of Getty Images