August 15, 2008

"we Play Soccer Like The Brazilians Play Ping-pong"
12:00 AM

  It may be an Asian century that lies ahead of us, but we're not quite there yet. Western declinists and China alarmists, take note: Its soccer team is still abysmal. How can an increasingly prosperous nation of 1.3 billion be so bad at its favorite sport? Well, it turns out that social norms make a difference: Many Chinese sports analysts and scholars point to endemic corruption within the association as one cause of the sport’s ills.

August 14, 2008

Of Memos and Memes
12:00 AM

Will the Party of Clinton ever become the Party of Obama? It has now been more than two months since Barack Obama secured the Democratic presidential nomination yet here we are, still fascinated with Bill and Hillary Clinton and what they're up to. Why? The latest round of Clinton mania was precipitated by Joshua Green's article in The Atlantic on a Clinton campaign riven by unresolved factional disputes, as well as the online publication of a trove of internal memos portraying a staff in strategic and tactical gridlock.

It's the Gas Prices, Stupid
12:00 AM

It's the economy again, stupid. In a Pew Research Center poll released last month, 61 percent of Americans cited an economic concern as the most important issue facing the country. That is up from 34 percent in January, and 20 percent in September 2007. Ordinarily, this would be great news for Barack Obama, as conventional wisdom holds that when the economy slumps, so do the fortunes of the incumbent party. In fact, there is an entire cottage industry built around the concept.

Live The Ideals You're Speaking Of
12:00 AM

WASHINGTON -- When you put the Olympics in the hands of a dictatorship, the results are predictable. Yet the Chinese government still found a way of surprising even its critics by behaving oppressively in a foolishly unnecessary way. By revoking the visa of 2006 Olympian Joey Cheek at the very last moment because he had the nerve to speak out about Darfur and the Chinese government's support for Sudan's barbarous regime, Chinese authorities guaranteed that the opening of these Games would focus as much on politics as on sports.

August 13, 2008

Disputations: National Security Versus Public Interest
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Nothing good can ever come from responding to a book review, I’m told. Still, Harvard law professor Jack Goldsmith is too smart a man to simply ignore.The ironic thing about Goldsmith’s lengthy critique of my book, Bush’s Law: The Remaking of American Justice, is that Goldsmith and I agree about far more than we disagree. The Bush administration’s penchant for secrecy and the lack of transparency in its war on terror, he writes, were damaging and self-defeating. This is a central theme of his book, The Terror Presidency, and a central theme of mine as well.

12:00 AM

Earlier this summer, when the Obama campaign announced that Jason Furman was joining its staff as director of economic policy, the storyline seemed to write itself: Centrist adviser will pull Obama to the right. Furman had first made a name for himself as a wonky twentysomething wunderkind in the later years of the Clinton administration--a period when, to the consternation of many liberals, Clinton emphasized balanced budgets, free trade, and welfare reform.

The TNR Q&A: Charles Fairbanks
12:00 AM

As Russia agreed to a ceasefire on Tuesday, saying its invasion of Georgia has “punished” the country enough, TNR’s Seyward Darby spoke with Charles Fairbanks, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and former deputy assistant secretary in the Department of State (as well as being the father of our Associate Editor, Eve Fairbanks), who spends six months of the year teaching at Ilia Chavchavadze State University in Georgia. Fairbanks describes the war as “deeply, deeply depressing,” with far-reaching implications that will influence policy in the last months of President George W.

Rita Is For Obama!
12:00 AM

No, not Rita Hayworth.  She's been dead more than 20 years.  It's Rita Hauser.  Rita Hauser?  Yes, Rita Hauser.  Who did you say?  Rita Hauser.  Hauser: H-A-U-S-E-R. She's a Repubican, and it's good news that Republicans are voting for Obama.  For example, former congressman Jim Leach of Iowa and former senator Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, have also endorsed Obama, although Chafee may be the dumbest official person I've ever met, bar none.  It's true that they both were defeated for re-election.  But a Republican is a Republican. The article (by Edward Luce) reporting these endorsements in

Mccain And Reed
12:00 AM

I suppose it's long past obvious that McCain doesn't play like this anymore, but surely the year 2000 version would have denounced Ralph Reed--a chief villain in the Abramoff scandal that McCain doggedly pursued--and declared his presence and assistance unwelcome at his fundraiser, no? Quick Reed flashback here: McCain, as chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, launched an investigation of Abramoff's tribal lobbying that turned up a mountain of e-mails, including some between Reed and Abramoff. The e-mails revealed Abramoff's corrupt dealings with politicians, as well as conservativ

August 12, 2008

Pain at the Port
12:00 AM

One morning in May, Governor Tim Kaine stood in a Danville, Virginia, parking lot, sawing a log in half with Ikea executive Bruno Winborg. The log-cutting, a Swedish good-luck tradition, was part of the opening ceremony for the Scandinavian furniture giant’s first North American plant, a 930,000-square-foot facility that will keep Americans well-supplied with BILLY bookcases and BESTA entertainment centers for years to come.Ikea’s rural Virginia factory should be convincing evidence that globalization is on the march.