December 31, 2008

Hamas is a Taliban State
12:00 AM

Maybe the Israeli government will concede to a cease-fire. We'll see.But it is clearer in my mind than ever why a cease-fire between Jerusalem and the regime in Gaza will never hold. Even the so-called cease-fire in place since the summer was not remotely close to a true pause in the fighting. That is, in the fighting from the other side of the frontier. Day-in and almost every day-out, rockets were launched from Hamas territory, and Israel did not fight back.

No Bias, Yes Bull
12:00 AM

The other day I played a leading role in a Michelle Malkin syndicated column about liberal media bias. Her complaint provides an interesting glimpse into the feverish workings of the paranoid mind of the far right. Malkin begins by citing a recent Washington Post article about Barack Obama's fanatical exercise routine. Malkin describes the reporter, Eli Saslow (who she calls Zaslow) as "adoring" and "smitten," which is the sort of hyperbole you'd expect in this kind of thing. Then comes the gotcha.

Best Of Tnr 2008: Secrecy And Safety
12:00 AM

Jack Goldsmith, the former head of the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel under the Bush administration, gives an insider perspective on the legality of government sanctioned wiretapping and the possibly dangerous role of the press (citing specifically a 2005-2006 New York Times series of articles) in playing the part of government watchdog:  And then there are the more diffuse harms caused by the Times' revelations.

December 30, 2008

Unpleasant Truths
12:00 AM

There is an ungainly German word, Vergangenheitsbewältigung, that has no equivalent in the English language. It means "coming to terms with past," and it was coined to refer to the efforts of German intellectuals, journalists, and even some politicians who, over the past half century, insisted that facing unpleasant truths about their country's history was both a moral and political necessity.

Move On Up
12:00 AM

Remember Election Day? And especially the day after? The country felt alive, optimistic, and--there’s no avoiding the word--hopeful. After eight long years, Barack Obama was coming to clean up the mess, riding to the White House on a decisive wave of electoral energy. That was November 5. And then ...The past two months have been nothing but bad news occasionally interrupted by worse news. The Dow has fallen another 1,100 points. Mumbai exploded. The financial industry kept imploding, in newly grotesque and criminal ways. Another trillion in taxpayer money was tossed at Wall Street.

After Bush
12:00 AM

WASHINGTON--Social and political epochs rarely end precisely on schedules provided by calendars. Many historians date the end of Europe's 19th century to 1914 and the outbreak of World War I. What we call "The Sixties" in the United States, with its ethos of reform and protest, ended with Richard Nixon's landslide re-election in 1972 and the winding down of the Vietnam War.In the same way, the outcome of this year's election means that 2009 will, finally, mark the beginning of the 21st century.It comes as we face parlous economic conditions and a slew of new threats.

The Floral Majority
12:00 AM

The Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins was gleeful after Richard Cizik, chief lobbyist of the 30-million member National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), was forced to resign on December 11. Perkins and other “family values” leaders had been trying to get rid of Cizik for two years, ever since he launched a campaign to add environmentalism to the evangelical “values” agenda. Though Cizik lost his job over comments endorsing civil unions, not because of his attention to what evangelicals call “creation care,” Perkins still claimed his ouster as a repudiation of the green agenda.

Obama's Super-bubble
12:00 AM

A couple of days ago, Politico posted a piece about how the closing of the presidential bubble was already beginning to chafe Barack Obama. All I could think was: Better make peace with it quickly, my man, because things are about to get so much worse.  All presidents suffer culture shock when the office's lack of person freedom hits home.

Arabs Cooling On Obama?
12:00 AM

Interesting new Reuters story out of Cairo: U.S. President-elect Barack Obama, with his silence on Israel's attacks in Gaza, has confirmed Arab expectations that foreign policy changes will come small and slow when he moves into the White House next month. On the fourth day of Israeli air strikes which have killed more than 380 people in Gaza, the U.S. President-elect has yet to take a position, though he spoke out after militants' attacks in Mumbai and has made detailed statements on the U.S. economy.... "Obama's position is very precarious.

December 29, 2008

Works, Not Words
12:00 AM

President-elect Barack Obama remains under fire from some liberals for inviting Pastor Rick Warren--an evangelical who is pro-life and anti-gay marriage--to deliver the invocation at his inauguration. Say what you will about the Rick Warren controversy, one reason Barack Obama will be sworn in on January 20 is that he courted and won the votes of more religious Americans than any other Democratic candidate in a decade.