May 21, 2008
Nuance On Dictators
As Mike and Noam predicted on Monday, Obama's position on meeting with dictators has evolved. The newer position doesn't jettison Obama's core principles, but it is more practical. --Barron YoungSmith
May 20, 2008
Negotiating Isn't Appeasement
In a speech to the Israeli parliament Thursday, President Bush took a swipe at Barack Obama for his willingness to negotiate with evil regimes. "Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along," Bush said. "We have heard this foolish delusion before.
Why Jimmy Fallon Is Jay Leno 2.0
Many observers have noted (and hated) the way newly announced “Late Night” host Jimmy Fallon (he’s replacing Conan O’Brien) used to break character more or less continuously during his time at “Saturday Night Live.” The most prominent example of this is probably the famous Will Ferrell/Christopher Walken “More Cowbell” skit, but it happened most frequently during Horatio Sanz’s guest spots on “Weekend Update,” which Fallon co-hosted.
State Of The Unions
Also on TNR.com today: E.J. Graff suggests that Democrats who fear the political fallout of the gay marriage ruling are wrong-headed--from both an ethical and an electoral standpoint. "Barack Obama has always believed that same-sex couples should enjoy equal rights under the law, and he will continue to fight for civil unions as president," the Obama campaign stated oh-so-carefully in response to this week's California Supreme Court decision striking down the state's ban on gay marriage.
Good News All Around
Also on TNR.com today: Benjamin Wittes argues that the California court made a critical error, and one that goes against democratic principles, by coming down so hard against civil unions. I wish I had clocked the minutes between the time that the California marriage decision was announced, and the time that the liberal punditocracy began whining about it. Yikes, those commitment-crazy gay people are going to lose the election for the Democrats yet again! This knee-jerk complaint is more than a little annoying, for several reasons. First, in its sheer cynicism.
Sometimes We Flip Coins
Policymaking in the Bush administration: I equate this to deciding whether to wear a red tie or a blue tie in the morning. It doesn't make much difference until I put the tie on. That's EPA spokesman Jonathan Schradar explaining why his boss, Stephen Johnson, changed his mind on a California plan for tough emissions standards after talking to the White House (and despite staff recommendations). Read the whole sorry--and at this point completely unsurprising--story here. --Christopher Orr
May 19, 2008
The Wall Street Journal recently reported that last summer, Illinois Senator Barack Obama told officials in the Teamsters union that he favored ending the Independent Review Board (IRB) that was created in 1989 by the federal government to rid the union of organized crime.
The Party of Death
The generals are deaf. As everyone now knows, the regime was warned by weather forecasters in India two days before the cyclone arrived--five days before by forecasters in Thailand--and it refused to listen. The generals hate their own people. The regime does not merely disdain them, it hates them, and the hate is cold, total and murderous. How else to explain the unimaginable sight of convoys being held by customs at the Thai border? Of planes filled with provisions and forbidden to land?
As the Iraq war grinds into its sixth year, policy-makers in the U.S. would do well to remember the story of Phineas Gage. For those in need of a refresher, the 25-year-old construction foreman lost a hunk of his frontal lobe back in 1848 when a three-foot iron rod shot through his left cheekbone and out the top of his head. Miraculously, Gage could walk and talk again just minutes after the accident, staying conscious on the three-quarter-mile oxcart trek into town, where doctors patched his wounds and sent him on his merry way. But the tale didn’t end there.
Wrong, Not Heartless
David Savage has a piece in today's Los Angeles Times taking a look at the difference between the McCain and Obama approaches to the federal judiciary. Savage writes: The McCain-Obama comments reflect a long-standing divide between conservatives and liberals on the role of the courts. Reduced to the simplest terms, conservatives say judges should follow the law, and liberals say they should ensure that justice is done. My first instinct when I read this was to get annoyed with Savage--surely liberals, no less than conservatives, believe judges should follow the law.