31 December 2008

Coates on Blago/Burris/Rush

Ta-Nehisi Coates explains why the Burris appointment, and Bobby Rush's defense of it, is problematic.

And 2008's Cliches Are. . . .

Lake Superior State University's annual list of "banished words"--those terms and phrases that rapidly became cliches--has been published. Among the nominees: "green," "maverick," "Wall Street/Main Street," "bailout," and "first dude."

It's a good, albeit brief, list. What's missing? I'd like to suggest a series of words and phrases that had already become tiresome by June:
1) "under the bus"
2) "drinking the Kool-Aid"
3) "carrying water for"
4)"taking the blue pill/red pill"
5) "cultist"
6) and how about eliminating the nouns created by adding "Mc" to an adjective? e.g., "McSame, McHottie"?

Storming the British Compound: "Chill"

Steve Schippert at NRO’s The Tank tells us to chill out about Iranians' invasion of the British compound in Tehran to “protest British policies” in supporting Israel. Schippert argues that the entire thing was, most likely, orchestrated for PR. Moreover, The Times asserts:

There appears to be little doubt that the Iranian regime orchestrated or at least inspired the attack on Gulhak. Just days ago Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari, the commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, suggested his force should facilitate “revolutionary action” similar to the capture of the “Den of Spies” – the US embassy -- on November 4, 1979

PR stunt or not, this was a foolish action; it's unlikely to endear Iran to the British, many of whom are supportive of the Palestinians (and not in the freaky George Galloway kind of way).

30 December 2008

"The Darkling Thrush"

I leant upon a coppice gate
     When Frost was spectre-gray,
And Winter's dregs made desolate
     The weakening eye of day.
The tangled bine-stems scored the sky
     Like strings of broken lyres,
And all mankind that haunted nigh
     Had sought their household fires. 
The land's sharp features seemed to be
     The Century's corpse outleant,
His crypt the cloudy canopy,
     The wind his death-lament.
The ancient pulse of germ and birth
     Was shrunken hard and dry,
And every spirit upon earth
     Seemed fervourless as I.
At once a voice arose among
     The bleak twigs overhead
In a full-hearted evensong
     Of joy illimited;
An aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small,
     In blast-beruffled plume,
Had chosen thus to fling his soul
     Upon the growing gloom.
So little cause for carolings
     Of such ecstatic sound
Was written on terrestrial things
     Afar or nigh around,
That I could think there trembled through
     His happy good-night air
Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew
     And I was unaware.

--Thomas Hardy (written 30 December, 1900)

On "The GOP's White Supremancy"

The Huffington Post’s Paul Jenkins offers “The GOP’s White Supremacy,” a thought-provoking discussion of how, and why, both “Barack the Magic Negro” and the election of the white supremacist (a son of a former KKK Grand Wizard, no less) to the Palm Beach County Republican Executive Committee, which GOPers effectively blocked, illustrate the conflicts over diversity within the Republican party. Notable quote:

Conservatives have for years hidden behind a disdain for quotas, political correctness and diversity gone wild to explain away the everlasting supremacy of white men in the Republican Party. The subtext, of course, is that selection, and election, is based on competence, not gender, race or ethnicity. And that the most competent simply happen to be white men. Always.

Its a sweeping statement, and there is some room for debate here. Although Jenkins mentions Palin and Clarence Thomas as exceptions to the above, he forgets to include Kay Bailey Hutchinson, Michele Bachmann, and a few other Republican or Conservative women. But his comments on minorities provide some food for thought, especially considering Bill Kristol’s strange bit of literary criticism in a recent New York Times column:

Obama has selected Yale’s Elizabeth Alexander to compose and read a poem [at his inauguration]. I still remember watching Maya Angelou read “On the Pulse of Morning” at Bill Clinton’s inauguration in 1993 — and thinking that American culture really was in a state of irreversible decline, as she indulged in that multicultural cataloguing of “the Asian, the Hispanic, the Jew, / The African and Native American, the Sioux, / The Catholic, the Muslim, the French, the Greek, / The Irish, the Rabbi, the Priest, the Sheikh, / The Gay, the Straight, the Preacher, / The privileged, the homeless, the teacher.”

I’ve looked at some of Alexander’s poetry, and am confident she’ll be a big improvement on Angelou. It makes me think our culture isn’t necessarily getting worse. It may even be getting better.

Kristol fails to explain how Angelou’s poem illustrates “that American culture really was in a state of irreversible decline”; he instead implies that it is simply because the poem makes note of the variety within our cultures. How does one stanza represent the entirety of a culture, anyway? The point is, Kristol’s weird sneer at Angelou’s note on American inclusiveness goes a long way toward proving Jenkins’s point. Although the GOP in and of itself is not innately racist, sexist, or homophobic, its gatekeepers and spokespeople--the people with the bullhorns--tend to go to peculiar lengths to disprove this.

Added: In a column at The Daily Beast on "The 'Magic Negro' Debacle," John Avlon suggests that the would-be RNC chair's haha-heehee CD simply represents a larger issue: that of the Republican Party's "tone deafness" on racial matters. He argues that this is something the party must overcome if it's to regain power. I agree, and offer that this is no time to gather 'round and protect Saltzman from the forces of the "liberal media" or "PC cultists"; rather, this episode offers an opportunity for soul-searching that the party should take advantage of if it's to regain not just relevance, but also the moral authority it's claimed for itself lo, these many years.

29 December 2008

Rumor Control: Palin is NOT Not a Grandmother

An update to a months' old post, "Palin is Not a Grandmother (Yet)": Bristol Palin gave birth on Sunday, 12/28, to a seven pound, four ounce boy. The infant's been named Tripp Easton Mitchell Johnston (Politico).

Penguin Cancels "Angel at the Fence"

The tale of an enduring love found during the Holocaust was, shall we say, a lie.

Herman Rosenblat, who claimed that he met his wife, Roma, while he was imprisoned at a Buchenwald sub-camp, when she would approach the camp’s fence to give him apples and bread, has ‘fessed up. He’s said that he “embellished” his story. In reality, it turns out that Roma’s family was 210 miles away from the camp were Rosenblat was interred.

His publisher has canceled Rosenblat’s book on the story.

When scholars and survivors expressed doubt about Rosenblat’s tale because of the camp’s layout—there was no place private enough where he could receive Roma’s gifts—he defended his experiences’ veracity. Last month:

He said that his section of Schlieben, a sub-camp of Buchenwald, was not well guarded and that he could stand between a barracks and the six-to-eight-foot fence out of sight of guards. Roma was able to approach him because there were woods that would have concealed her. (NYT)

It seems as though all possible factcheckers, excpeting the scholars and those who survived the camps with Rosenblat, went to sleep on this one. His agent, Angela Hurst, believed Rosenblat’s story, and declined to research his tale, because “He was in so many magazines and books and on ‘Oprah.’ It did not seem like it would not be true” (NYT).

Well, that’s okay then.

UPDATE: Lerner Publishing Group has pulled its children's book based on the Rosenblats. Published this fall, Laurie Friedman's Angel Girl is being taken from store shelves, and Lerner is offering refunds to people who purchased the book.

28 December 2008

The Babies and Obama

(click to enlarge)
Okay, this might just about overload the "adorable" factor, but it is the sentimental season.
H/T to The Back Forty

27 December 2008

Friedman’s Silver Lining

In his column, "Time to Reboot America," Thomas Friedman wonders at the policies and mindsets that have led to the USA’s current condition (well, what else do you expect him to do?). He ends a rather discouraging comparison of his recent experiences with Hong Kong’s infrastructure—its transport system, its wireless access, and so on—with a reminder that, despite the current domestic mess, it wouldn’t be wise to write the USA off yet:

America still has the right stuff to thrive. We still have the most creative, diverse, innovative culture and open society — in a world where the ability to imagine and generate new ideas with speed and to implement them through global collaboration is the most important competitive advantage. China may have great airports, but last week it went back to censoring The New York Times and other Western news sites. Censorship restricts your people’s imaginations. That’s really, really dumb. And that’s why for all our missteps, the 21st century is still up for grabs.


"Angel at the Fence"--Another Suspect Memoir

A new memoir, titled Angel at the Fence: The True Story of a Love that Survived, by Herman Rosenblat, a 79-year-old Holocaust survivor, has come under scrutiny.

The memoir tells of Rosenblat's experience at Buchenwald; apparently, the teenaged Rosenblat met a young girl at the camp's fence--she on one side, he on the other. She would bring him apples and bread. In New York years later, Rosenblat went on a blind date. Turns out his date was the same young woman who brought gifts to the fence.

The problem? Holocaust historians and Rosenblat's fellow survivors say it's not true. While Rosenblat was held at the concentration camp, scholars and survivors say the camp's layout negates any possibility that Rosenblat would have discovered a space isolated enough that he could meet the girl undetected by guards or other survivors.

The New Republic has published an extensive discussion of Rosenblat's story; the site has added an update as well, in which several people close to Rosenblat claim the story of love beyond barbed wire is concocted:
auther [sic] Herman Rosenblat's sister-in-law and a fellow Holocaust survivor, both speaking publicly for the first time, say that Herman's story is fabricated. Sidney Finkel, a 77-year-old Holocaust survivor who was liberated with Herman, tells TNR that he ate with Herman and Roma Rosenblat the night before the couple was to appear on the "Oprah Winfrey Show" for the first time, in February 1996. At the Omni Hotel in downtown Chicago, Roma told Finkel that she was not hiding in Schlieben as Herman tells in his story, and was in fact hiding in another part of Poland. “It’s made up,” Finkel tells Sherman in an exclusive interview.
Although people making stuff up and presenting it as autobiography is nothing new (heck, America is all about self-invention). The problem is when we approach matters like the Holocaust. Scholar Deborah Lipstadt is troubled for, as she notes,
"If you make up things about parts, you cast doubts on everything else," Lipstadt told me. "When you think of the survivors who meticulously tell their story and are so desperate for people to believe, then if they're making stories up about this, how do you know if Anne Frank is true? How do you know Elie Wiesel is true?" (TNR)
Exactly. Presenting such a work as fiction is one thing; presenting it as fact is another. If it's prove that Rosenblat embellished or fabricated his Holocaust love story, well...to make a concentration camp the backdrop for a romance is rather dismissive, don't you think? You'd think that after the debacle with Margaret Seltzer's "memoir" earlier this year, Penguin would be a bit more attentive to fact-checking.

Do read the piece at TNR, and be sure to read the comments--other survivors are chiming in.

Update: Rosenblat has recanted the story, and Penguin has canceled publication of Angel at the Fence.

A Plea to the Media. . . .

Can y'all please find a different way of headlining stories about Bruce Pardo and the horrific Christmas Eve mass murder in Covina, California? Headlines about "Santa massacre," "Santa rampage," "Santa killer," and "Santa shooter"--lil' ones can read those, you know. It's called "tact."
Thank you.

26 December 2008

Election Night Thugs Under Further Scrutiny

On Election Night, a young man named Ali Kamara was walking about a Staten Island neighborhood when he was set upon by thugs who, shouting "Obama!," set about beating the living heck out of him. Just over a week later, police arrested two 18 year-old men, Ralph Nicoletti and Bryan Garaventa, for the assault. Turns out they'd been cruising about looking for Black and Hispanic victims. But that's not all. . . .

Rumproast, which has kept a steady eye on the Kamara case, reports that Nicoletti and Garaventa might well have beaten another man--and put him into a coma--on the same evening that they ran into Kamara. Nicoletti and Garaventa might well be looking at federal charges. Head over to Rumproast for the full story.

Kudos to Rumproast for keeping this story in the public eye.

Rumor Central: They Keep Coming

FactCheck has released a post-Election Day summary of misinformation fomented by partisans on both sides of the aisle. Although the primary emphasis focuses on items related to the automaker bailout, several residual rumors election-related rumors remain.

FactCheck finds:

· It's not true that unionized auto workers at Detroit's Big Three make more than $70 an hour, as claimed by some opponents of federal aid.

· And no, 3 million workers won't be tossed out of work if aid is not forthcoming, as claimed by those favoring a taxpayer bailout.

· President-elect Obama never promised to seek a ban on all semi-automatic weapons, as claimed by some fearful gun owners.

· And no, Obama did not propose a Gestapo-like civilian security force as claimed by a Republican member of Congress from Georgia and any number of overwrought bloggers.

· Democrats in Congress are not discussing any plan to confiscate the assets in 401(k) retirement accounts, another falsehood spread about by chain e-mails and Internet postings.

· House Speaker Nancy Pelosi did not demand a 757-size personal jet, a false claim resurrected when Democrats criticized Big Three executives for flying to D.C. on their own private jets to beg for aid.

· And Pelosi's husband doesn't own a $17 million stake in a food company that she may (or may not) have tried to help with an exemption from a new minimum wage law.

Also worth a read, FactCheck’s article, “Our Misinformed Electorate.”

What amazes is that so many of these items originate as unsubstantiated stories on the Internet, then are picked up and reiterated by people who should know better—people who have access to “real” researchers (e.g., Representative Paul Broun [R-GA]). It’s more than evident that these stories are perpetuated by pathos—emotive appeals lacking in factual support—the problem is, we’ve seen rumors of this ilk stimulate some very real hysteria that extends beyond both the Clinton- and Bush- Derangement Syndrome. People convinced that “our way of life” is under threat are calling for rebellion and for secession; some of these accompanied by veiled threats against the President-Elect himself (Here's a CSM story from about a month ago that touches on these issues; Googling reveals more recent examples, and this blog is always on top of these things amongst the PUMA groups).

The odd thing is, people write that, because fringe elements pushed the anti-Bush envelope, this deserves a retributive anti-Obama stance (Google "Obama is not my president" for a whole lotta testifying to this). “Because you didn’t support my president, I’m not supporting yours,” etc. Not only is this tit-for-tat juvenile in the extreme, the self-righteous “not my president” nonsense only helps partisans maintain some sense of superiority over others. If you object to a process or to a proposal, find a way to help enact change that utilizes reason and analysis (what gifts these are!) instead of having what is, essentially, a temper tantrum. It doesn’t matter who started it; the fact is, it’s got to end if we’re to climb out of this hole we’re in.

Eartha Kitt, 1927– 2008

19 December 2008

The Richest Man in Town

Wendell Jamieson’s essay, “Wonderful? Sorry, George, It’s a Pitiful, Dreadful Life” reminds us that It’s a Wonderful Life (a film I truly love) is a masterpiece of dark cinema rather than a corny, cheerful holiday flick. Sure, there are corny bits, but it’s as much based in reality (albeit "heightened" reality") as it is fantasy. As Jamieson points out,

It’s a Wonderful Life” is a terrifying, asphyxiating story about growing up and relinquishing your dreams, of seeing your father driven to the grave before his time, of living among bitter, small-minded people. It is a story of being trapped, of compromising, of watching others move ahead and away, of becoming so filled with rage that you verbally abuse your children, their teacher and your oppressively perfect wife. It is also a nightmare account of an endless home renovation.

In nearly every respect, George Bailey is “everyman.” He is generous and kind to a fault, but he’s also frustrated by closing opportunities and repressive expectations based on “honor.” The moments when George’s self-control shatters, when his anger, shame, and fear break through that kind demeanor, are chilling—and recognizable. Shouting and shaking Mary before their kiss? The blow up at the kids? Smashing up the living room corner that represents his burst dreams (per the model and the architectural drawings)? The assault on Uncle Billy? This is a cheerful holiday film?

Although we sympathize with Mary, the children, and the poor old fool, Uncle Billy, we recognize George’s fears and frustrations. We might well recognize George’s suicidal tendencies.

Sure, no angels-second-class will come down to rescue us, and it’s probably a stretch to assume that our friends and neighbors would spontaneously donate $8,000 to rescue us from apparent financial malfeasance (in today’s climate, those people would likely string George up). But the film is a redemption story, and George’s redemption is that every one in town (sans old man Potter) acknowledges his lifelong sacrifices and confirming that he has made a difference in their lives. A presence rather than a non-entity. The film reminds us that, regardless of our wealth or education, our lives touch and enrich each others’. This is why the film has achieved such a vast, persistent audience—because we relate to George, and because the film affirms that we matter.

17 December 2008

NORAD's Santa Tracking

NORAD's Santa Tracker is up and running. I love this effort to ensure all that Santa is on target for his Christmas Eve trip. Before today, I'd never taken the time to really check out the site; and I'm happy to see that NORAD informs children of Santa's progress in English, German, Italian, French, Spanish, Japanese, and Chinese.

14 December 2008


"Oread" (1915)
Whirl up, sea—
Whirl your pointed pines.
Splash your great pines
On our rocks.
Hurl your green over us—
Cover us with your pools of fir.

--H. D. , Imagiste.

12 December 2008

Bettie Page, 1923-2008

Miss Bettie Page has passed on. In 1950s photos and film loops that range from the slightly risque to the slightly transgressive, she retained, and projected, an essentially innocent quality.

No wonder she's an American icon.

11 December 2008


Because it's that kind of day--gray, damp, and no amount of coffee seems able to jumpstart the imagination. . . .

Giorgio de Chirico, a Greek-Italian artist, produced some fairly disturbing images (he was a proto-surrealist). One of his "trademarks" was the insertion of classical figures into lonely, sterile landscapes (he loved deserted urban settings) . This 1912 piece is titled "Melancholy":

And just because I like it, here's "The Delights of the Poet," also from 1912:

09 December 2008

Nutjobs Convene at the NPC

A selection of "prominent" anti-Obama conspiracy theorists descended on the National Press Club Monday afternoon. David Weigel was there and he's got the goodies here.

That's a Long 15 Minutes There

Seriously—can we just let this fella slip back into obscurity now?


How Stupid is This Man?

So you’re a state governor, and you know the Feds have been investigating you for some time now—“for more than a year” in fact—on allegations of corruption.

You’ve two former associates: one a “millionaire-fundraiser,” has talking to the Feds. The other is in prison on corruption charges, and rumors have it he’s been singing like a canary.

So, knowing the Feds are hot on your arse, do you lay low for a while? Or do you hit the accelerator?

Either Rod Blagojevich is pathologically arrogant or he is dumber than dirt. Undeniably, he’s headed for the hoosgow.

It's been alleged that Blogojevich attempted to “sell” the senate seat vacated by Barack Obama; if Blogojevich didn’t get a “good” deal, he’d fill the seat himself. Additionally, " [f]ederal prosecutors said Blagojevich and the chairman of his campaign committee have been speeding up corrupt fundraising activities in the last month to get as much money as possible before the end of the year when a new law would curtail his ability to raise contributions from companies with state contracts worth more than $50,000” (AP).

And don't forget the media: this charmer has, apparently, threatened the financially-strapped Chicago Tribune, by “illegally threatening to withhold state assistance [. . .] in the sale of Wrigley Field, according to a federal criminal complaint. In return for state assistance, Blagojevich allegedly wanted members of the paper's editorial board who had been critical of him fired” (AP). Why a company headed for chapter 11 bankruptcy thinks it’s a good investment to buy Wrigley Field is beyond me, but it’s never a good idea to intimidate the press like this.

Sure enough, corruption is a bipartisan matter. Recall that Louisiana voters handed Democratic Representative William Jefferson his rear on a plate just a few days ago. Keeper of an ill-gotten, ill-hidden $90,000, Jefferson, like Ted Stevens, had no reason for maintaining his government position; his decision to run for re-election after indictment speaks of some whopping hubris.

08 December 2008

Back to Square One, eh?

So the Supreme Court declines to hear the current suit arguing that Barack Obama is not a "natural born citizen." Is there really any shock to this? The case is built on straws. and when no less a personage than David Horowitz chimes in to tell people obsessed with this concocted citizenship issue to back off (rather, to "shut up about the birth certificate"), you might consider the issue closed. We shall see.

Added: At The Next Right, Patrick Ruffini argues that "this kind of crap" will effectively derail legitimate critiques of the Obama administration. He's got a valid point: the story's received significant media coverage in the past few days, and, as more people become aware of it, the more likely that the public will imagine 1) it's a larger movement than it is, and 2) it's an issue within the mainstream Republican party (which it's not).

05 December 2008

Rumor Central: Obama Ring Thing

Rather Silly, Isn’t It?

So a London tabloid runs a story that Barack Obama purchased a $30,000 rhodium ring from a fancy jeweler for his wife Michelle. Shortly thereafter, Obama spokespeople and the alleged jeweler confirm that Barack Obama did not purchase a $30,000 rhodium ring for his wife Michelle (nor, it must be said, for any other lady). It’s been days since the story has been debunked, but does it cease to exist? Err…no.

I expect you can’t permit common sense or lack of facts interfere with a good old self-righteous rant about Obama’s alleged hypocrisy.

(pedantic aside: the headline for The Daily Mail’s story, originally titled “Barack Obama to buy rare £20000 rhodium ring for his wife to say thanks for support,” now states, “Barack Obama denies claim to buy rare £20000 rhodium ring for his wife to say thanks for support”)

Nisoor Square Massacre: Blackwater Guards to be Charged

Five of the Blackwater employees who opened fire in Baghdad's crowded Nisoor Square on 16 September, 2007, “have been told to surrender to the FBI by Monday to face federal manslaughter and assault charges connected to the shooting deaths of 17 civilians” (ABC).

Granted, this is a good move by prosecutors, but I’m cynical about how this will turn out.

It's Getting Tiresome

Salon’s Alex Koppelman weighs in on the Obama citizenship mania and argues that, despite all the evidence confirming Obama’s natural-born status, the conspiracy theorisits won’t let this go.

You just know that when the Supreme Court shoots down the current lawsuit (which it is expected to do), the theories will simply grow more elaborate (e.g., someone has paid off /threatened Supreme Court Justices).

04 December 2008

The Beard "Mystery"

Okay, Bill Richardson’s post-campaign beard was great. I loved it. But all the media attention it’s getting is rather silly. He shaved it off a month ago--before election day. But, even though he made the talk show rounds sans-whiskers, and the media commented on his smooth look at the time, people are only noticing it because Obama commented on it? And the way the media has picked up on this story--I guess we can say we’re in the silly season, aye?

03 December 2008

Richard Nixon vs. the Professoriat

In recently released tapes we hear the 37th President railing against the intellectuals who declined to endorse his strategies in Vietnam.

On May 17, 1972, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger met “with Ivy League college presidents [. . .] in the aftermath of the President's decision to mine Haiphong harbor and escalate bombing in North Vietnam on May 8, 1972” (Nixon Archives). The following day, Nixon and Kissinger discussed the meeting, in which Nixon said:

The Ivy League presidents? Why, I'll never let those sons-of-b------ in the White House again. Never, never, never. They're finished. The Ivy League schools are finished ... Henry, I would never have had them in. Don't do that again ... They came out against us when it was tough ... Don't ever go to an Ivy League school again, ever. Never, never, never." (MSNBC)

Seven months later, on December 14, he reiterated his contempt for, and suspicion of, academics (as well as other groups):

Never forget," Nixon tells national security adviser Henry Kissinger in a taped Oval Office conversation revealed Tuesday. "The press is the enemy. The establishment is the enemy. The professors are the enemy.

"Professors are the enemy," he repeated. "Write that on a blackboard 100 times and never forget it." (AP).

According to transcripts, when Kissinger points out that he is a professor. When Nixon seems not to notice Kisinger's rebuttal, Kissinger quickly agrees with Nixon about his views on the press” (Nixontapes).

The diktat that “the professors are the enemy,” and distrust of academia (the implication that intellectuals are somehow “unAmerican”), may not have originated with Nixon, but he certainly grounded it within the Republican conscience. Nixon's paranoia manifested in the party ten years later when conservatives began airing their perception that an "adversary culture of intellectuals” existed. In reaction, thinkers such as Irving Kristol emphatically embraced populism, this move, however, as Mark Lilla argues in The Wall Street Journal, might well have led to the death of the Conservative intellectual tradition.

Odetta, 1930-2008

The musical historian and civil rights activist has passed at 77.
Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

02 December 2008

Avoid Following Our Lead

The Register-Guard’s editorial comment today notes that “many in India advocate attacking Pakistan to exact retribution for what is being called India’s 9/11.” Although India and Pakistan have a contentious history, and groups with ties to Pakistan are responsible for several terrorist acts in India, until there is some surety that Pakistan—especially Pakistan’s government—was or is involved in the Mumbai attacks (which seems extremely doubtful), India might want to “heed the U. S. Example”:

Americans can sympathize with the overwhelming urge to strike back after a horrifying terrorist attack. But the U.S. response to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, offers much for India to consider as it contemplates its own answer to the Nov. 26 massacre in Mumbai.

With two ongoing wars having killed almost 5,000 U.S. military personnel and hundreds of thousands of Afghan and Iraqi civilians, al-Qaeda is stronger than ever — strong enough to be linked to the Mumbai attacks. As a strategy, full-scale military war on terrorism leaves much to be desired.

India should take a hard look at U.S. results before embarking on a similar path. (R-G)

Worth considering indeed. Yes the urge for vengeance is strong, and understandable, but unless an attack on Pakistan is justified—that is, unless genuine evidence links the government to terrorist groups—it would only wreak additional misery on the region as a whole.

Mel Martinez Declines a Second Run

Florida Senator Mel Martinez won’t run for a second term. Apparently, he’s not very popular in his region.

I first became familiar with Martinez during the Terry Schiavo controversy. Recall that Martinez’s legal counsel issued a memo explaining how the GOP could take political advantage of the Schiavo situation—specifically, how the Republicans could stir up the base and how the party could exploit the Schiavo matter against Florida’s Democratic Senator Bill Nelson. When the memo was exposed, Conservatives claimed it had been produced and circulated by Democrats to discredit the GOP.

Although Martinez gave the memo to a fellow Senator (surely on accident as he gave it to a Democrat), he claimed to know nothing about it until the memo’s contents hit the news. When Martinez’s aid, Brian Darling, ‘fessed up to authoring the talking points, he resigned. So how did Martinez get it?

"It was intended to be a working draft," Martinez said. "[Darling] doesn't really know how I got it." (Washington Post)


Update: Former Florida governor Jeb Bush is considering a run for Martinez's seat.