August 22, 2008

The August Jinx
12:00 AM

WASHINGTON--Don't worry, Democrats, the worst of August is over. Like baseball players, political people are superstitious. In the Democratic imagination, August is the month when Republican presidential candidates destroy their opponents with clever, underhanded attacks that meet with ineffectual responses. Democrats are now petrified that if John Kerry was Swift-boated in August 2004, Barack Obama was Paris-Hiltoned this summer, and there will be no coming back. Never mind that this analysis is based on the experience of exactly one election. Superstitions are not necessarily rational.

The Critical Browser: BarackBook Revisited
12:00 AM

Mock a presidential candidate, and you're participating in a venerable tradition. Mock a popular website, especially if your own design skills aren't as impressive, and you're cruising for a bruising.

Open Tab
12:00 AM

On the morning of February 21, David Perel, the editor-in-chief of the National Enquirer, was sitting in his Boca Raton office when he pulled up The New York Times website.

More Unearthings: Obama Law Review Edition
12:00 AM

Over at the Politico, Ben Smith and Jeffrey Ressner have done some good work chasing down the case comment Obama wrote in his Harvard Law Review days: The six-page summary, tucked into the third volume of the year's Harvard Law Review, considers the charged, if peripheral, question of whether fetuses should be able to file lawsuits against their mothers. Obama's answer, like most courts': No.

August 21, 2008

The Best Laid Traps
12:00 AM

As recently as six weeks ago, Barack Obama hoped to use his moderation and facility with religiously informed rhetoric to inspire a portion of the evangelical vote to defect to the Democratic Party in 2008--a move that might usher in a broader electoral realignment. But events during the past week may very well have derailed this plan for good.

Bashir's Willing Accomplices
12:00 AM

There are so many more important issues in the world today than Palestine that I wonder why I am so obsessed with it. Well, of course, what I am obsessed with is Israel, and it's a personal obsession relating to the catastrophe that befell my people in a way that no catastrophe had previously befallen any other people. This fact alone brings the fate of the Jews into the consciousness and conscience of others.

Mccain's Water-grab Gaffe
12:00 AM

"Hello, I'm John McCain. I'm from Arizona and I'm here to take your water." It's a line the Republican presidential candidate has reportedly used as an opening joke at appearances in Colorado, a state that doesn't take too kindly to suspected water thieves.

August 20, 2008

Made Man
12:00 AM

ON SATURDAY, MAY 17, 1980, Cindy Lou Hensley married Navy Captain John McCain at the First United Methodist Church on Central Avenue in Phoenix, not far from the bride’s childhood home. After the ceremony, the wedding entourage headed nearly three miles east to the Arizona Biltmore resort, a sprawling gray oasis designed by a Frank Lloyd Wright protégé in the 1920s. Guests fêted the couple in the resort’s Aztec Room, an elegant, twelve-sided banquet hall with a vaulted, gold-leaf ceiling. The 25-year-old bride seemed impervious to the desert heat.

The Death of 1989
12:00 AM

Seven nail-biting thoughts as the Russian tanks roll by: 1) The damage has already been done. It is vast, and it is irreversible, at least for a long time to come. We have been living in the age of 1989--an age of democratic revolution. The damage is to those revolutions and their legacy. The democratic revolutions came in three waves, each new wave weaker than the last. The earliest of revolutions, the velvet revolutions of 1989 itself, were a mighty tide, but the second wave needed a push. This turned out to be U.S.

God's Country
12:00 AM

WASHINGTON--The recent campaign forum at Saddleback Church in which U.S. presidential hopefuls Barack Obama and John McCain answered questions from pastor Rick Warren, the new star of the evangelical Christian movement, could only have happened in America. The rest of the world watched in wonder as the two candidates proclaimed their faith before the tribunal of God, trying to persuade the jury that their views on abortion, gay marriage, stem cell research, state-sponsored altruism and other "value" issues do not depart (too much) from dogma.