There is nothing like waking up to the smell of burning tires. Looking out the window of my eighth-floor Beirut apartment, I have to rub my eyes more than once to make sure I am actually seeing plumes of smoke rising from all corners of the city. Are the Israelis invading again? There is no way this could be Hezbollah. The Shia group, which is spearheading the opposition to the government of Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, had announced that yesterday would be the beginning of Phase III in the their effort to bring down the government, but I didn't think that meant a city aflame.
by Geoffrey Nunberg Now it's a "plus-up" in Iraq. Over recent weeks, the term has been popping up in stories in The Atlantic and Time and on Fox News and CNN, as well as in remarks by Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Peter Pace and Tony Snow: Our local commander believes that a couple additional U.S. battalions, basically a plus-up -- net plus-up of about 4,000 would enhance our ability to help the Iraqi forces there exploit the opportunity. Granted, "plus up" is a long ways from driving surge to the sidelines. But it's clearly a comer.
by Melissa Harris-LacewellThe Bears are going to the Super Bowl! Although no longer living in Chicago, I am cemented enough to the city that I am ridiculously excited about it. But I must admit that the best part of this new Super Bowl shuffle is its that it has distinctly more soul. Two African American head coaches are going meet one another in this great American dance of masculinity. No matter what happens (although we know the Bears will win) a brother is going to hoist that trophy in triumph. And, Barack Obama is running for president. He is really running for president.
Ben Smith has a story in the Politico about Clinton's relative strength--and Obama's relative weakness--when it comes to appealing to black voters. It's a good piece, but there was one part of it that I didn't quite get. Smith makes a big deal of the fact that the Clintons spent a recent vacation in Anguilla schmoozing with Bob Johnson. Smith writes: Johnson--founder of Black Entertainment Television and owner of the NBA's Charlotte Bobcats--stands at the pinnacle of the black elite and embodies its longstanding ties to the Clintons.
Forget the shoddy memory defense. It looks like Scooter Libby's settled on a new strategy to avoid the slammer: blame the White House and Karl Rove. Byron York reports from the Libby trial: [Libby defense attorney Ted] Wells told the jury that the White House went all out to defend Rove against accusations he revealed Mrs. Wilson's identity, but did not protect Libby in the same way, leading Libby to suspect that he was being singled out for blame in the matter. "[Mr. Libby] was concerned about being the scapegoat," Wells said. "Mr.
Two weeks ago, President Bush said, "Iran is providing material support for attacks on American troops. We will disrupt the attacks on our forces." Presumably he'll hit those notes during the State of the Union tonight, vaguely hinting that escalation with Iran might be in the fold.
I've admired Wes Clark for a long time. But his comments to Ariana Huffington about wealthy Jews pushing the country toward war with Iran strike me as nutty and disturbing. Either I seriously misjudged the man, or his comments were misquoted or taken wildly out of context. Matthew Yglesias, however, thinks Clark's comments are perfectly spot-on. Indeed, he says they're not just correct but obviously so. As he writes, "Everything Clark said, in short, is true. What's more, everybody knows it's true." Well, I don't know it's true.
by David Bromwich Walter Mondale, interviewed today by Wolf Blitzer, said that in his judgment Vice President Cheney had "crossed a line" the Carter presidency took care to preserve: the line that stops the vice president from becoming an autonomous actor in the framing and the pursuit of policies. He added that Dick Cheney appears to have constructed "a parallel National Security Council" to control national intelligence.
Upon reading in Saturday's Times a front page article, by Mark Mazzetti and headlined "Leading Senator Assails President Over Iran Stance," I rushed to the website of Senator John (Jay) D. Rockefeller IV to see what accomplishments of his I hadn't known of that made him a truly "leading" senator. Now that I have looked, I still haven't a clue. He's "worked hard" and "fought" (even "tirelessly") and "co-sponsored" and "consistently supported" and "been instrumental" for all kinds of white bread liberal legislation which, generally, are to my liking.
by Eric Rauchway Open U contributor Dan Drezner posts in his own blog on the topic of reasons for being right or wrong, and says this about a credible, multilateralist alternative to the action we took in March, 2003: And I simply cannot believe that an eroding UN sanctions regime, bad as it would have been, compares to what exists now. In fact, the sanctions might not ever have eroded. In retrospect, it's heartbreaking to contemplate what would have happened had the administration halted its plans to invade Iraq after the UN Security Council unanimously endorsed Resolution 1441.