Dead of Night

<?xml:namespace prefix = dsl />In the last hour of any patrol in Baghdad, things start to slow down. Conversations are filled with comfortable silences that stretch themselves out. Everyone gets a little bit restless to head back to beds, food, and relative safety. No one wants anything to happen that would keep us out longer than necessary.That's why I could feel the exasperation in the Humvee when the call went out over the radio one night last December for everyone to stop.

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The Palestinians are desperate. That's old news. Yes, of course, the occupation makes them desperate. But, hey, the occupation of Gaza was liquidated almost two years ago. Not a single Israeli soldier is in Gaza, except for the one captured last summer from over the Israeli border. According to an article by the very savvy Isabel Kershner in todays Times, even Mahmoud Abbas has averred that "the brink of civil war ...

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Democratic Fascism

I know America is a fascist country. I read about this fact all the time. But it's a strange fascist country--isn't it?--when a military court overturns the administration's way of dealing with foreign combatants and terrorists captured in places like Afghanistan?

Zachary Roth says NBC News correspondent David Gregory saved the White House press corps (he also collects videos of Gregory's classic scuffles with Bush and his flacks); Linda Hirshman says that Rahm Emanuel is a modern-day Aristotle; Elizabeth McCaughey criticizes Jonathan Cohn's defense of Hillarycare; Peter Beinart and Jonah Goldberg ask whether the debates are a waste of time; and, in our third excerpt from his book Power and the Idealists, Paul Berman chronicles Bernard Kouchner's creation of Doctors Without Borders. --Alexander M. Belenky

Right Said Fred

Uh oh. Now Fred Thompson has a website. Look out world! Last week, when I wrote that I thought Thompson was the Republican version of Wes Clark--i.e. an overhyped potential candidate who'll flame out once he actually gets in the race--a few people objected by pointing out that, unlike Clark, Thompson isn't a political novice. True. But is there anything in Thompson's political career that makes you think he's actually ready for a presidential campaign?

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In Iowa on Tuesday, when Senator Barack Obama gave a speech about health care, he started by introducing Amy Chicos and telling her story. It seems that Amy and her husband, Lane, run a small business providing broadband Internet access to their small town. Twenty years ago, Lane was diagnosed with cancer--and ended up losing a lung, a leg bone, and part of his hip. He's in complete remission now, which is the good news. But, as a cancer survivor, he has sky high insurance premiums. The Chicos now pay 40 percent of their income for health insurance.

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by Sanford LevinsonThe latest CBS/New York Times poll conducted between May 18-23 shows the "favorable" rating of Vice President Dick Cheney at a record low. See here. Perhaps the White House takes heart that the "not favorable" rating has actually dropped because the "undecided"s and "haven't heard"s went up by a total 14 points.

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The Jerusalem Post reports this morning that a bus carrying Israeli demonstrators from a Peace Now rally in Hebron against the occupation was pelted with rocks and stones. Where is the Palestinian sense of hospitality to friends?

King David

<?xml:namespace prefix = dsl />White House correspondents like to describe their colleague NBC News's David Gregory as a "bit of a showboat." They recount, for instance, the time he ordered a Cape Cod cocktail on a press charter plane--then sent it back four times to achieve the ideal ratio of vodka to cranberry juice. Sticking with the air-travel theme, they note that his luggage tends to fill two overhead storage compartments. "He has a kind of traveling wardrobe," one reporter explains.

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Warming To Gore

I know that Al Gore has much to be pleased with by the fact that the world as he has seen it is fast becoming the world that nearly every responsible public figure understands is the one with which we now must deal. A few days ago, even George Bush came around to a generous and imaginative program against AIDS in Africa. Yes, I know there are those ideological ticks for fidelity and restraint (and what's really wrong with that anyway?) that seem to be permanent features of American work surrounding the disease which has ravished a continent. What does this have to do with Gore?

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