My column in today's New York Times eXaminer is on "The Life of Ross." The NYTX front page is here. My thanks to Douthat for giving me an excuse to write a column in which mention of young Douthat's limp member and blow-up dolls is more-or-less appropriate. ...
... Chris Spannos, the NYTX editor, writes a terrific piece correlating the New York Times' poor coverage of Occupy Wall Street with its own bad labor practices.
Robert Morgenthau, the Manhattan District Attorney for more than three decades, in a New York Times op-ed: "... it's not just the low tax rates that make [island] jurisdictions attractive to those following the rules. The secrecy of offshore jurisdictions allows some individuals and corporations to engage in outright tax fraud, costing America at least $40 billion each year.... The secrecy laws in these tax havens are at the root of serious crimes: fraud, money laundering and international terrorism.... There's more money on deposit in the Caymans than in all the banks in New York City combined.... Many American corporations, including Halliburton, have done business with Iran through their offshore tax haven subsidiaries." Congress can act, but it won't, despite pending legislation.
On Speaking Evangelical. T. M. Luhrmann in the New York Times: "If Democrats want to reach more evangelical voters, they should use a political language that evangelicals can hear. They should talk about the kind of people we are aiming to be and about the transformational journey that any choice will take us on. They should talk about how we can grow in compassion and care. They could talk about the way their policy interventions will allow those who receive them to become better people and how those of us who support them will better ourselves as we reach out in love. They could describe health care reform as a response to suffering, not as a solution to an economic problem."
Paul Krugman: "The French are revolting. The Greeks, too. And it’s about time." ...
... Judd Gregg, former governor of & U.S. from New Hampshire, & all-around stuffed shirt, writes an op-ed in The Hill warning that the French election results are a foreboding of a socialist takeover of the U.S. government. CW: I wish.
... John Cassidy of the New Yorker: "For President Obama, the sight of Nicolas Sarkozy, a fellow member of the Presidential class of 2007-2008, being sent packing by French voters will bring mixed feelings."
Kevin Sieff of the Washington Post: "The United States has for several years been secretly releasing high-level detainees from a military prison in Afghanistan as part of negotiations with insurgent groups, a bold effort to quell violence but one that U.S. officials acknowledge poses substantial risks."
Adam Liptak of the New York Times: "... it is the rare oral argument that wins or loses a case.... Oral arguments are ... far less important than the written briefs."
Ian Shapira of the Washington Post tells the story of Barbara Annette Robbins, killed in the 1965 car-bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Saigon, whom the CIA finally acknowledged last year was "one of their own. But the slain secretary holds enough historic titles to make her an object of curiosity within the CIA. Robbins was the first woman at the male-dominated CIA killed in the line of duty. She is the youngest CIA employee ever killed. And, according to [Leon] Panetta, she was also the first American woman to die in the Vietnam War." Here's a related photo gallery.
Ahrnold's Back. Arnold Schwarzenegger in a Los Angeles Times op-ed: "... the extreme right wing of the [Republican] party is targeting anyone who doesn't meet its strict criteria. Its new and narrow litmus test for party membership doesn't allow compromise. I bumped up against that rigidity many times as governor.... It's time to stop thinking of the Republican Party as an exclusive club where your ideological card is checked at the door, and start thinking about how we can attract more solution-based leaders...."
Jonathan Weisman of the New York Times: Angus King, the front-runner for Maine's open U.S. Senate seat, is "a two-term independent governor who, because he refuses to say whom he would support for majority leader next year, may well decide which party controls an evenly divided Senate."
I missed this essay by Charles Pierce on President Obama's failure to use the bully pulpit -- or even to understand what to say -- but it's worth a read, because it is exactly right. Many of us have been saying the same thing for a long time, but not so well. AND it remains hard for me to reckon how someone so politically savvy could really think that if he was just a little nicer, just a little more accommodating, the Republicans in Congress would step up & do the jobs they were sworn to do.
NEW. Andrew Kaczynski of BuzzFeed: "... in 1981 presumptive Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney was arrested for disorderly conduct. The issue of Romney's arrest first came to light during his 1994 Senate run against incumbent Senator Ted Kennedy...." A magistrate dropped the charges -- which were Mickey Mouse anyway -- when Romney threatened to sue. CW: Meh. Now imagine, if you will, the hysteria on the right if Obama had been arrested for disorderly conduct for participating in a demonstration or whatever.
The Obama-Biden campaign's latest one-minute ad is a shorter version of the 7-minute "Forward" ad:
George Packer of the New Yorker: "Mitt Romney has dropped the severe conservatism, stopped denouncing the children of illegal immigrants, and started claiming authorship of the auto-bailout plan, which he had formerly dismissed as a goodbye kiss to the industry. By Election Day, he will have replaced so many parts so many times that nothing of the original Romney will be left but the hair."
... Michael Barbaro of the New York Times: "The comments, which aides described as the off-the-cuff views of a vice president not known for fidelity to a script, sent the White House scrambling to clarify that Mr. Biden was not articulating an official change in policy, a reaction that highlighted the administration's unease over the subject." ...
... Jamelle Bouie of the American Prospect: "I don't see any reason for why Obama shouldn’t come out in support of same-sex marriage.... With the exception of conservatives, support is broad-based...." ...
... Steve Kornacki of Salon: in context, it appears Biden's remarks may be all about Biden: "... to be a contender for '16, he needs to build and sustain as much goodwill as possible with his party's base. And by now, rank-and-file Democrats are far, far ahead of the Obama White House when it comes to gay marriage." ...
... NEW. Drew Katchen of NBC News: "On Morning Joe, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan echoed Biden. Asked by TIME's Mark Halperin whether he thinks same-sex couples should be legally allowed to marry, Duncan said flatly: 'Yes I do.'"
CNN: "U.S., Yemeni and other intelligence agencies broke up a plot to bomb a U.S. airliner around the anniversary of the raid that killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, a U.S. counterrrorism official said Monday, although a second U.S. counterrorism official said that the threat was not timed to coincide with the death of the al Qaeda leader."
ABC OTUS News: "In May 2011, just weeks before John Edwards was indicted for allegedly using $725,000 from an elderly heiress to hide his pregnant mistress, Edwards asked Rachel "Bunny" Mellon for an additional $3 million, her librarian testified today."
AP: "Vladimir Putin took the oath of office in a brief Kremlin ceremony on Monday, while on the streets outside thousands of helmeted riot police prevented hundreds of demonstrators from protesting his return to the presidency."
AP: "In a video released Sunday by al-Qaida, American hostage Warren Weinstein said he will be killed unless President Barack Obama agrees to the militant group's demands.... Weinstein was abducted last August in Lahore, Pakistan, after gunmen tricked his guards and broke into his home. The 70-year-old from Rockville, Md., is the country director in Pakistan for J.E. Austin Associates, a Virginia-based firm that advises a range of Pakistani business and government sectors." With video excerpt.
AP: "Al-Qaida militants staged a surprise attack Monday on a Yemeni army base in the south, killing 20 soldiers and capturing 25 just hours after a U.S. drone strike killed a senior figure in the terror network wanted in connection with the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen."
Reuters: "Syrians voted in a parliamentary election on Monday touted by authorities as a milestone of political reform but dismissed by the opposition as a facade while people are killed every day in an anti-government uprising. Violence persisted across the country between forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad and rebels fighting to end four decades of dynastic rule by his family."
Reuters: "Greek and French election results rattled investors on Monday by undermining confidence in the region's plans to cut spending and tackle its debt crisis, sending the euro to a three-month low."