May 14, 2009

A Dangerous Dance
12:00 AM

There are many downsides to Israel’s tendency to recycle its leaders--its perpetual inability to find new leaders instead of the already-tested-and-weren’t-impressive-enough ones. But this habit has some benefits as well: The recycled leaders tend to learn from their own mistakes.

Governor Crist and the Rubio-con
12:00 AM

WASHINGTON--When Charlie Crist, Florida's popular governor, announced this week that he would run for the U.S. Senate, it was the best news the Republican Party has had in an otherwise unpleasant year.     The problem for the GOP is that its right wing quickly decided that the good news was very bad news indeed. The elation and the desolation had the same source.

Back to Basics

The Obama administration’s strategy to address the economic crisis may be making the problem worse. Its plan--bailing out one financial institution after another and rebuilding the old system pretty much as was--treats the symptoms, not the disease, and will leave us fiscally and financially weaker. The disease is letting financial companies borrow in order to gamble, resting easy that Uncle Sam will cover their losses.

Too Much To Handle?
12:00 AM

Almost four months after his inauguration, President Barack Obama is still riding high in the polls. According to Gallup, 66 percent of Americans approve of the job he is doing. But I expect that Obama’s popularity will begin to fall, even plummet, as the leaves turn brown.

The Making Of A Conservative Heretic
12:00 AM

A few days ago, Jon tweaked Jerry Taylor, a poster at the Corner, for refering to Rush Limbaugh and his conservative TV and radio brethren as figures who are "thought to be relatively unpopular with non-movement Americans." Jon imagined that this was a characteristic example of low-grade conservative disingenuousness, a unwillingness to acknowlege that Limbaugh is, in fact, demonstrably unpopular. Taylor replied, essentially saying that he wasn't being disingenuous; he simply hadn't seen the polls in question.

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.