April 08, 2008
Team Hillary Again Pleads Poverty
Another poignant email from Hillary Clinton just landed in my inbox: Dear Friend, With 14 days to go until the people of Pennsylvania vote, the Obama campaign has decided to go all-out. They're trying to end the race for the White House with an unyielding media blitz. Right now, we're being outspent 4-1 on Pennsylvania television. So now, here's what we have to ask ourselves: Have we come this far in our history-making contest for the Democratic nomination only to see the race decided not by the quality of our ideas but by the size of our opponent's media budget?
April 07, 2008
Is Bush The Worst President Ever?
According to this poll, 61% of professional historians think George W. Bush is the worst president of all time. Matt Yglesias adds: More interestingly, I also take the view that Bush is probably correct to think that history will remember him kindly. American presidents associated with big dramatic events tend to wind up with good reputations whether they deserve them or not.
What Should Come First?
A few days ago, Obama again told reporters that he'd like to give Al Gore a "major role" in his administration—something climate-related. Yes, Obama's angling for an endorsement, etc. etc. but I wonder… Every so often, like at last December's NPR debate, Obama sends off signals that he wants to make energy and climate change the centerpiece of his domestic-policy agenda if he gets elected. By contrast, it seems likely that Clinton would make health care her top priority. I'm sifting through tea leaves here, but that's my best guess.
April 05, 2008
Yoonited States of America
The disclosure of the former Bush administration lawyer John Yoo's “torture memo” this week was, in most senses, an exercise less in news than in archaeology. The public has long known the memo existed. And it has also known, in broad strokes, what it says: that military interrogators aren’t constrained by domestic or international law and that the president has the power to sweep statutory constraints aside anyway. The Bush administration has long since repudiated the memo.
April 04, 2008
Some of the very first beauty tips I learned as an adolescent in London came from my Iranian best friend, Ziba (who asked that I not use her real name). She opened my eyes to Persian grooming secrets, like full-face threading and back hair bleaching. As we were growing up, I never thought much of her perfectly shaped eyebrows; shiny, straight hair; and flawlessly coordinated outfits--Ziba was naturally glamorous, and that’s just how naturally glamorous people carried themselves, I thought.
The Other Victim
WASHINGTON--Forty years ago, American liberalism suffered a blow from which it has still not recovered. On April 4, 1968, a relatively brief but extraordinary moment of progressive reform ended, and a long period of conservative ascendancy began. The assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and the ensuing riots that engulfed the nation's capital and big cities across the country signaled the collapse of liberal hopes in a smoky haze of self-doubt and despair.
That Which Must Not Be Said
Barack Obama is a liberal. Hillary Clinton wants you to know this now; if Obama gets the nomination, John McCain assuredly will, too. “Liberal” has had bad connotations ever since the Vietnam era, when conservatives successfully branded their opponents with the “amnesty, abortion, and acid” label. Now, the word “liberal”--or librul, in its nastiest form--has been cast to the bottom of the linguistic heap, to be avoided at all costs.
The Washington Post reports today on an interesting tidbit to be gleaned from the March 2003 John Yoo memo: The Justice Department concluded in October 2001 that military operations combating terrorism inside the United States are not limited by Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures, in one of several secret memos containing new and controversial assertions of presidential power. The memo, sent on Oct. 23, 2001, to the Defense Department and the White House by the Office of Legal Counsel, focused on the rules governing any deployment of U.S.
April 03, 2008
The Pakistan Paradox
On the day that Pakistan saw a new prime minister sworn into office, one of Pakistan’s leading newspapers, The News, led with the headline, “Hands Off Please, Uncle Sam.” The article was a response to the arrival of two senior American envoys, Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte and Assistant Secretary Richard Boucher. They were hoping to foster ties to a new government, true, but their more immediate mission was to convince the new prime minister to preserve President Pervez Musharraf’s policies of partnering with the U.S. in the war on terror.
The latest CBS/New York Times poll is out and its full of provocative results. The headline (literally) is "Weak Economy Sours Public's View of Future." Among the findings: 48 percent of Americans say the economy is "fairly bad" while another 30 percent say it's "very bad." The last time the CBS/Times poll captured such pessimism was January of 1992, while the country was deep in recession. Not surprisingly, the economy is also voters' top concern: 32 percent say it's the most important problem facing the country today.