November 28, 2007
What's Your Problem
What's the problem with Mike Huckabee? PETER BEINART is editor-at-large at The New Republic, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, and the author of The Good Fight (HarperCollins). JONAH GOLDBERG is editor-at-large of National Review Online and a contributing editor to National Review. By Peter Beinart & Jonah Goldberg
WASHINGTON--Recently, The Washington Post carried a front-page story about a federal raid on the headquarters of the National Organization for the Repeal of the Federal Reserve Act and Internal Revenue Code (Norfed).
No presidential candidate inspires more anxiety in reporters than Barack Obama. This has nothing to do with any shortcoming on Obama’s part. He is, if anything, unfailingly charming in person--quick with a subversive crack, more at ease with the press than most of his rivals.The source of the problem is, rather, one of Obama’s greatest assets: his gifts as a speaker. If you’re on the Edwards or Giuliani beat, to say nothing of Clinton or Romney, you’d prefer to wake up on time and show up at the right place. But it would hardly be the end of the world if you didn’t.
Wanted: UN Troops
Darfuri camps housing some 2.5 million displaced persons are poised to explode in violence. Insecurity throughout the region is threatening further reductions in humanitarian efforts. Major combatants are edging closer to an all-out fight.
Good Grief, Grendel
To solicit from a medievalist a review of Robert Zemeckis’s Beowulf is to pick a quarrel unlikely to be evaded. The eminent Cambridge classicist Richard Bentley famously put down Alexander Pope’s translation of Greek epic with a single sentence: “It is a pretty poem, Mr. Pope, but you must not call it Homer.” “Pretty” is not the first adjective I would choose to describe Zemeckis’s Beowulf. Fantastic, amazing, preposterous, corny from springing leaf to ripening ear, technically brilliant perhaps, enjoyable after a fashion--but “pretty,” no. This Beowulf is all about the animated monsters.
Thompson Campaign Death Watch, Ctd.
You know it's bad when Michael Medved disses you this persuasively: On Wednesday, Senator Thompson spent a half hour answering friendly questions on my radio show. If you read a transcript of his remarks, they’ll look perfectly credible, articulate and astute. But if you listen to the tape of the actual interview, it’s startling to note how disengaged, bored, flaccid and tired the Senator sounds. Instead of relishing the opportunity to connect with several million listeners, Thompson came across like a guy forced to complete a necessary but onerous chore.
The stream of news about the three days of riots that have overtaken the suburbs of Paris is unsettling. In echoes of the 3-week urban war of 2005, the pot is still boiling, and this fight may not yet have reached its climax. The mainly black and Muslim rioters are still aggrieved about the perennial barriers of race, class and religion that govern their lives in France. Like the first uprising, the death of two local youths sparked the violence.
November 27, 2007
There is a doomsday scenario looming in Iraq, and it is not one that has to do with sectarian strife or Iranian hegemony. It is the possibility that a 65-foot wave could burst forth from the Mosul dam, some 250 miles north of Baghdad, unleashing a trillion gallons of water from the Tigris River and, within hours, drowning half a million people as well as two of the country's three largest cities. It would be the Hurricane Katrina of Iraq, only orders of magnitude worse--a shocking story of negligence by the U.S. government.
The Thunder from Down Under
WASHINGTON--Kevin Rudd, Australia's new prime minister, combines iron discipline with a puckish sense of humor, political toughness with a reflective spiritual side, and a youthful disposition with an old pro's skill at divining where a majority lies. The triumph of Rudd and his Australian Labor Party holds lessons for Democrats and other center-left parties. John Howard, the conservative incumbent swept from power after 11 years in office, had presided over record prosperity.