Thursday October 02, 2014
August 14th, 2014
"What," people ask me, "do you cook when you're not working?" The answer is pretty consistent: "pasta and fish and a vegetable, or pasta and salad and a vegetable, or salad and fish and a vegetable, or pasta and salad and fish and a vegetable." There are exceptions, of course, but there's a comfort level here and it's been this way for a long time, through different kitchens and domestic arrangements.
Once again, air strikes on Iraq have begun. President Obama says it will be a “limited" strike. Next he says, “This is going to be a long-term project.” And the timetable? On Aug. 9, he said, “The most important timetable that I’m focused on right now is the Iraqi government getting formed and finalized.” But how long will it take for Iraq to meet his goal of a unified and inclusive government? Looks like another war without end.
As President Obama struggles to deal with the crisis in Iraq, it's useful to remember who gave the world this cauldron of woe in the first place: George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.
Their decision to launch a foolish and unwarranted invasion in 2003, toppling Saddam Hussein and destroying any vestige of the Iraqi state, is directly responsible for the chaos we see today, including the rapid advance of the well-armed jihadist militia that calls itself the Islamic State.
The other night, a prominent Democrat I know made the craziest statement.
"I don't think Hillary's going to run," he proclaimed, silencing the room. He might as well have said that he'd just spotted Bigfoot pilfering rhubarb from the White House vegetable garden or that Arnold Schwarzenegger was in line to play King Lear on Broadway. ("Cordelia, I'll be baaaaack.") He was humming some kind of loony tune.
"When I first heard about the decision, I was speechless," said Sonny Vaccaro.
Speechless as in he never thought this day would come.
Vaccaro is the former sneaker marketer turned anti-NCAA crusader, and he was talking about Friday's decision in the O'Bannon case - the one in which Judge Claudia Wilken ruled that the principle of amateurism is not a legal justification for business practices that violate the nation's antitrust laws.
In the latest Times Magazine, Robert Draper profiled youngish libertarians - roughly speaking, people who combine free-market economics with permissive social views - and asked whether we might be heading for a "libertarian moment." Well, probably not. Polling suggests that young Americans tend, if anything, to be more supportive of the case for a bigger government than their elders. But I'd like to ask a different question: Is libertarian economics at all realistic?
Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Alabama) claims that liberals are waging a "war on whites." If so, Barack Obama must be at war with himself.
That's how goofy Brooks' logic sounds. But he's not nuts. It is an old reflex, when cornered in politics, to lash back with the same charge that others have leveled at you -- or, put another way, to project your own flaws onto other people.
If the CIA spends half as much energy finding terrorists as it has spent fighting Congress, we should feel very safe.
The spooks, taking a break from the mundane work of protecting the nation, have lately been turning their spycraft against the lawmakers who are supposed to be overseeing them. The not-so-secret mission: To block the Senate Intelligence Committee's report on tortu--, uh, enhanced interrogation methods.
As the battle intensifies over how much authority President Barack Obama has to take executive measures in the face of congressional inaction, James Madison and Richard Nixon provide the frames of reference.
The Republican-controlled House is planning to sue Obama for exceeding his executive authority, and threats of impeachment are in the air if, as expected, the president unilaterally exempts - at least temporarily - more undocumented immigrants from deportation. This isn't a new fight.
Even as President Obama continues to insist that there will be no return of American "boots on the ground" in Iraq, stark reality is severely testing what has come to be known as the Obama Doctrine--that the use of U.S. military power has limits defined by America's own national interests.