The Spine

I wrote a while back about how state legislatures and governorships had fallen like rocks in a landslide. Of course, I know that Democrats don't like to acknowledge that Barack Obama has been an utter flop. Not only in policy but in his numbers. But numbers don't lie. The fact is that the Republicans won big, very big. And Republicans are, if anything, less responsible and more ideological in state politics than the Democrats. They want to spend nothing. There will certainly be a fiscal attack on the public schools, perhaps even coordinated ones from state to state.

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There is no mystery as to why President Obama went half away around the globe shortly after the election. Actually, I suspect that he and his folks scheduled the trip precisely to free him from the inevitable (and certainly annoying) queries about his responsibility for the Democratic disaster. There is another reason, however, why he leapt into the arms of foreign leaders (even those who don’t especially like him).

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TNR bloggers are arguing among themselves and in the blogosphere generally whether the gargantuan loss of House seats by Democrats is a massacre or just a disaster. The only real consolation for the party is what happened in New York and California. They are still true-blue. And the only consolation for the country is that a few of the nuttier Tea Party waiters lost. But the true enormity came where intellectual liberals and liberal intellectuals almost never really look or act: in the 50 states and their representative bodies.

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I am no Gandhian. And neither is Barack Obama. But he is the president of the United States, and he can get his speechwriters to put into speeches any nonsense he wants. As Jim Yardley indicates in his New York Times dispatch from New Delhi, already in his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance address Obama set Gandhi as "the North Star that sets us on our journey." Yardley also reminds us that the president once said that Gandhi was the person he most would have liked to have "dined" with, although his reason was perhaps a bit incoherent. No, it was more than incoherent.

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Paul McGeough has made a comprehensive accounting of the cost of  jihadist terror in the world. Not exactly in dollars or pounds or  euros or, soon, renminbi. Although doubtless someone could make that calculation. Rather, the writer’s article in Saturday’s Sydney Morning Herald takes the world of commerce and travel and examines what fanatic Muslims are doing to it. I believe that this is only the beginning. Not the middle and certainly not the end. It will be a different universe than the one we now live in.

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"So why not Israel?" you undoubtedly will say.  But we know that Israel has nukes.  And Jerusalem told us its intentions long ago when it refused to sign the convention that set up the monitoring mechanism.  Other governments also did not sign, among them France which, however, advertised its designs with the force de frappe.   The rules of the International Atomic Energy Agency are relatively simple, as you can read in the article "Proliferation".

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When I spent almost half a year here a decade ago, I came to my own conclusion that Tel Aviv was one of the world’s most splendid cities.   Compassable, young, highly cultured, loose (even “hot”), exquisite food at both the high and outdoor cafe end, grand boulevard streets, a beach that really is part of the town and used by virtually the entire population.

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It was first reported by ABC News on Monday night. I read it (in Tel Aviv) in a Washington dispatch by Scott Shane and Robert F. Worth on The New York Times web site Tuesday morning. (Then I went off to my high school English class.

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The Obama administration has acted with dispatch in dealing with this last episode of Al Qaeda terror. No equivocations, no hesitations. In fact, the president pointedly indicated who were the targets of these two quite sophisticated explosive devices. One of the devices, at least, contained two pounds of PETN, a cousin of nitroglycerin, the same material used by Richard Reid in his attempt to bring down an American Airlines flight and by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab in his Christmas morning Northwest Air venture. But this was no underwear job.

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This is certainly not a vote getter, this permitting Democratic Congo, Chad, Sudan and our heroic ally Yemen to conscript children as young as 14--and who really knows whether they aren't even younger--to fight. The story is by Brian Knowlton, and it is in the New York Times. Headline: "No U.S. Sanctions on Four Countries With Child Soldiers." The findings that these governments, such as they are, engage in "human trafficking" was actually not a shock to the system.

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