the Times

Can the Israelis Pull Off an Attack on Iran?
February 28, 2012

My posting, “All of Western Civilization Could Soon Be Threatened By a Nuclear Iran,” went up on Friday/Saturday at midnight. I don’t know whether there have ever been as many readers’ comments as there were for this piece. To be sure, some of them were simply stupid and produced by the lame brains who have attached themselves (ongetshepet, my mother would have said onomatopoetically) to my writings.

All of Western Civilization Could Soon Be Threatened By a Nuclear Iran
February 25, 2012

I don’t know whether it’s time just yet for someone, anyone to bomb Iran. But it’s been quite a few years since the wise folk in the strategy profession have been saying “sanctions need time.” This sounds very reassuring unless, of course, Tehran’s nuclear option beats out Tehran’s financial collapse. Just how much economic pain will the world’s self-appointed moral monitors permit even a repellent and perilous Islamic power to endure until all the strings of conscience are played and the will to act is foreclosed.

Marco Rubio Flunks History
January 30, 2012

From a Jan. 29 New York Times Magazine Q and A with Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.), everybody's favorite choice for vice president (though he isn't endorsing anyone and tells the Times "I'm not going to be the vice-presidential nominee"): After you became the first Cuban-American speaker of the Florida House of Representatives, in 2006, your mentor, Jeb Bush, presented you with a sword. What was that about? Chang is a mythical conservative warrior.

A Horrible Production of 'Porgy and Bess'
January 28, 2012

The fashionable take on Diane Paulus’ new production of Porgy and Bess on Broadway is that it is a triumph by Audra McDonald, as Bess, surrounded by an underpowered but respectable production. Unsurprisingly, the Times’ Ben Brantley, with his eternal weakness for grande dames, has led in this vein. Terry Teachout at the Wall Street Journal has been less polite, deeming the thing “emotionally null” and warning that anyone who has seen the piece before will be appalled. Teachout is closer to the mark.

January 25, 2012

“The list of controversies grows weekly,” Ethan Bronner and Isabel Kershner, filing from Jerusalem, write in The New York Times.

Mitt on Hedge-Fund Loophole: Heck, Yeah
December 23, 2011

Many reported today on Mitt Romney's refusal to release his tax returns, but the Boston Globe went a step further and zeroed in on Romney's strong hint that he is, in fact, taking advantage of the loophole on "carried interest," which allows his income from Bain Capital to be taxed at only 15 percent rather than the 35 percent rate for ordinary income. This is significant.

Dear Candidates, Stop Blaming Your Wives
December 19, 2011

Last week, the Times ran a big story about Mitt Romney’s double life as a reluctant millionaire, as told by his close friends and associates. He may have bought his wife a six-figure horse and he’s quadrupling the size of his $12-million house—but he flies JetBlue! He plays golf with clubs he bought at K-Mart! He’s rich, but he’s not comfortable being rich. He splurges, but not on himself. For a man who’s bought houses that look like hotels and contributed millions to his own campaigns, the whole exercise can seem like splitting hairs.

Romney Buys, Er, Receives Haley Nod
December 16, 2011

The hullabaloo over primary season endorsements is bad enough -- the reporting of them as decisions independently made by the endorser, when in fact they are in most instances the product of lengthy negotiations, with the timing of their announcement determined by the endorsee. Worst of all, though, is the willful disregard for the blatantly transactional terms that lie behind the announcements. In their reports of South Carolina Gov.

Visiting The Titanic? Be Careful Not To Litter
December 05, 2011

If you have two free weeks and $60,000 to spare, The New York Times has a vacation idea to suggest: Go visit the Titanic on the 100th anniversary of the ship’s sinking. Visiting the wreckage is apparently popular among certain kinds of deep-pocketed tourists, but the practice is not without detractors: “Scientists and scholars worry about new damage to the famous ship,” the Times reports, resulting in large part from carelessness and clumsiness.

The Mad Men Revolution
November 30, 2011

The meme is now the message. So I learned from Monday’s New York Times profile of Kalle Lasn, the Adbusters editor who can be dubiously credited with creating the Occupy Wall Street movement. My dubiousness has nothing to do with the qualities of the movement itself, which, whatever else can be said about its tactics or its political direction, has sparked an important national conversation about income inequality. It’s the word “create” that I’m not sure about. Lasn did not issue a call to action, or write a position paper, or build an encampment.