OTB Latenight – Roy Orbison

EU Georgia Report False Equivalency

As widely anticipated, an EU report on last year’s Russian invasion of Georgia finds plenty of blame to go around, finding that Tblisi “triggered” the conflict but that Moscow violated international law by its invasion and with numerous atrocities thereafter. This leads John Cole to quip, “Was the McCain/Palin campaign right about anything?” As I […]

Killing Presidents

Related controversies roiling the blogosphere today point to the dark side of American politics. First, NewsMax ran an article by a John L. Perry titled “Obama Risks a Domestic Military ‘Intervention.’” It has apparently been removed from the site (it’s now directing to the home page and isn’t showing along with the author’s other pieces) […]

Britain Seeks Ban On Pint Glasses

As part of their ongoing effort to cement George Orwell’s reputation by making him the most accurate prophet in history, the British Home Office is now investigating the possiblity of forcing every Pub in Britain to replace pint glasses with plastic pint cups: The BBC reported recently that the British Home Office is seeking a […]

Libraries: Paper or Digital?

Inside Higher Ed points me to a new study [PDF], “What to Withdraw: Print Collections Management in the Wake of Digitization,” on how academic libraries should cope with the increasing availability of scholarly journals in digital form. They go through great pains to argue the need to maintain print. From the executive summary: This analysis […]

Child Rape in Afghanistan and Hollywood

Joshua Foust continues to call attention to widespread and institutionalized child rape — mostly man-on-boy — in Afghanistan, this time with a report that Canadian soldiers had been quietly told to ignore the practice because we needed the cooperation of the leaders doing the raping. Steve Hynd, naturally, wonders why this isn’t widely reported and […]

Dept. of Silly Analogies

John Cole comments on Michelle Obama’s pledge to “take no prisoners” as she helps her husband fight to get the Olympics for Chicago: You know who else hosted an Olympics? Hitler. Just saying… QED.

Star Trek Meets Monty Python

A well-done Star Trek – Monty Python mashup: via Glenn Reynolds

Funkentelechy vs. the Option Syndrome

Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry has coined the phrase “Option Syndrome” to describe the destructive effects of undecipherable legalese on society. [T]he overwhelming majority of legal documents involve redundant, unnecessary, overwrought, undecipherable legalese. Just try to read the terms of service to the next website you subscribe to. You’re never quite sure if they’re going to be able […]

Bill Frist: Mandate Health Insurance

Former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, a Tennessee Republican and world renowned heart surgeon, argues that the federal government must require all Americans to purchase health insurance. In our reimbursement-driven, public-private health sector (which delivers the most robust health services on the globe), the only way affordable access can be achieved is for every citizen […]

Caption Contest Winners

The Gun With The Schwinn Edition OTB Caption ContestTM is now over. REUTERS/U.S. Army/Sgt. 1st Class Alex Licea

Clearing the Path

If true this: INTELLIGENCE chief Sir John Scarlett has been told that Saudi Arabia is ready to allow Israel to bomb Iran’s new nuclear site. The head of MI6 discussed the issue in London with Mossad chief Meir Dagan and Saudi officials after British intelligence officers helped to uncover the plant, in the side of […]

NATO’s Future

I’ve been busy at the Atlantic Council today covering two huge events. First, Senator Richard Lugar delivered a speech on the Future of NATO.  In addition to the usual niceties about the important of transatlantic cooperation, Lugar argued that we need “boots on the ground” in Eastern Europe to assuage their fears about Alliance commitment […]

Fineman: Chicago Style Isn’t Working

Howard Fineman piles on to the burgeoning — if thus far unfounded — Obama overexposed and Obama fatigue memes with an uncharacteristically harsh column. In addition to contending Obama gives too many speeches with too little substance, her goes further: There is only so much political mileage that can still be had by his reminding […]


Kevin Coleman ends an interesting post on the difficulties facing the new Cyber Command with the observation that: As everyone knows C4ISR stands for Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance. It appears the time has come to add collaboration and coordination to C4ISR and update it to C6ISR. If that happens, we must […]

The Washington Post: Right Wing Netherworld (Updated)

The Washington Post is a “right wing netherworld”? Who knew? Here’s Fareed Zakaria, published in the Washington Post this morning: At his United Nations debut, Barack Obama urged global cooperation to combat nuclear proliferation, climate change and other problems that go beyond the borders of any one country. The speech was well received around the […]

Roman Polanski Arrested, Fighting Extradition

Roman Polanski, who fled the United States in 1977 after conviction for raping a 13-year-old, has been arrested in Switzerland and is fighting extradition to Los Angeles. Polanski, who fled the United States in 1978, was detained Saturday after arriving to receive a lifetime achievement award at the Zurich Film Festival. It was not clear […]

Caption Contest

Time for the Monday OTB Caption ContestTM (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus) Winners will be announced Thursday PM

Bacevich: A New Cold War?

Andrew Bacevich in an op-ed in the Washington Post proposes an alternative to conventional war or global counter-insurgency, an approach evocative of the Cold War policy of containment: Containment implies turning to the old Cold War playbook. When confronting the Soviet threat, the United States and its allies erected robust defenses, such as NATO, and […]

OTB Latenight – The Smithereens

Medvedev’s Comments on the Revelations from Iran

As I noted yesterday, based on what I’d seen of Russian Federation President Medvedev’s comments in reaction to the revelation that Iran was covertly building an additional uranium enrichment plant, I was a bit skeptical that Russia would change course and support a new sanctions regime against Iran despite the hints in that direction I […]

OTB Caption JamTM

Weekend Caption Jam Linkfest. . . Rodney doesn’t give a damn, in this remake of Gone With The Schwinn. Wizbang has a Flash for Dunkers program. Wyatt Earp has the ice queen. (and I don’t mean Pelosi) Cowboy Blob is accessorizing. RT’s Ponderings is on a quest. Blonde Sagacity needs a Tic Tac or something. […]

G-20 Issues Statement on Agreement to Arrive at Agreements and Make Statements

Flushed with victory the G-20, meeting in Pittsburgh, have issued a statement announcing an elaborate new framework for the global economy: PITTSBURGH—The Group of 20 nations agreed to put in place an elaborate structure to change global economic policy, but without any enforcement mechanism to make countries live up to their word, critics warned it […]

Iran’s Non-Compliance: Okay, What Then? (Updated)

Presumably in anticipation of the announcement by the United States, France, the United Kingdom, or Israel of the existence of their previously-undisclosed uranium enrichment plant, the Iranian government has admitted that they have a second, secret plant: PITTSBURGH, Sept. 25 — President Obama and the leaders of France and Britain on Friday blasted Iran’s construction […]

Youthful Sex Offenders

A posting at a blog called Classically Liberal, which apparently covers this topic with some regularity, draws attention to the criminalization of adolescent sex. Not long ago a curious adolescent or child, caught exploring, or playing doctor in the back yard, was given a talking-to, sent to bed early, and warned to not do it […]

Obama 56, Republicans 30

A NYT/CBS poll finds that President Obama’s approval remains strong but support for his handling of key policy issues is dipping. The Republicans are not, however, gaining much ground. At 56 percent, his approval rating is down from earlier in the year but still reasonably strong at this point compared with recent presidents. More Americans […]

Caption Contest Winners

The Carpe Diem Edition OTB Caption ContestTM is now over. (Hat tip — Dodd)

I Got Nothin’

The combination of a busy day at the office and a slow news day on the domestic policy front have rather limited my blogging today.   Norman Geras knows the feeling: If you’re a blogger and you’re honest, then you’ll admit to the fact that you’re often looking for connections. ‘Connections?’ you ask. Connections. On a […]

President Obama’s Speech to the UN General Assembly

As you undoubtedly know yesterday President Obama gave a speech to the United Nations General Assembly. The complete text of the speech is here. Was the speech important or not and why or why not? President Obama’s fluent, rhetorically soaring speeches continue to be a welcome relief from those of his predecessor albeit becoming a […]

Census Worker Lynched in Kentucky

A census worker was found hanged in Kentucky in a bizarre and grisly case. When Bill Sparkman told retired trooper Gilbert Acciardo that he was going door-to-door collecting census data in rural Kentucky, the former cop drew on years of experience for a warning: “Be careful.”  The 51-year-old Sparkman was found this month hanged from […]

Obnoxious Web Ads

Having run advertising-supported websites myself for several years, I’m appreciative of the need to run ads and get reader clickthroughs. And the mass media is struggling to figure out a sustainable business model. But some of the ads are getting to be too much. Take this one at The Hill: No, not the banner ad […]

Fringe Views Not So Fringe

Via Eric Kleefeld, I see Public Policy Polling has surveyed Americans on various conspiracy theories and wild ideas and found substantial adherence to all of them, leading their Tom Jensen to ask “Is extremism becoming mainstream in 21st century American politics?” Our latest national poll would seem to say yes- 35% voters in the country […]

Caption Contest

Time for the Thursday OTB Caption ContestTM REUTERS/U.S. Army/Sgt. 1st Class Alex Licea Winners will be announced Monday PM

OTB Latenight – Bruce Springsteen

In honour of the Boss’ 60th birthday today:

OTB Radio — Tonight at 5:30 Eastern

The next episode of OTB Radio, our BlogTalkRadio program, will record and air live from 5:30-6:30 Eastern. Dave Schuler will cost-host and we’ll be joined by Joshua Foust of Registan.net to talk about General McChrystal’s Afghanistan strategy review, rumors that President Obama is lowering his Afghanistan ambitions, whether we should be befuddled at this change, […]

Obama Lowering Afghanistan Ambitions?

Obama administration officials are now admitting what has been apparent for weeks: that they are giving serious consideration to radically downsizing the Afghanistan mission.  Peter Baker and Elisabeth Bumiller break the story in this morning’s NYT, noting that a combination of factors have President Obama strongly reconsidering the Biden Plan, which he rejected as recently […]

Health Insurance Mandates

Sam Stein reports that “Democrats are bracing themselves for a new line of conservative attack against a provision in the health care legislation once considered so non-controversial that it was endorsed by several major Republican officials.”  What is it, you might ask, that these dastardly Republicans are opposing out of their racist hatred of Barack […]

Losing Our Religion

Dan Gilgoff passes on word of a new survey projecting that a quarter of Americans will be atheists or non-believers twenty years from now. If current trends continue, a quarter of Americans are likely to claim “no religion” in 20 years, according to a survey out today by Trinity College. Americans who identify with no […]

Professional Failure

Or this post could be titled how doctors routinely fail to predict illnesses, diseases and injuries. It strikes me that this is one of the main problems with health care in this country. If only doctors could get better at practicing their art then we might not have such a problem with run away health […]

Dallas Cowboys ‘Party Pass’ Fiasco

In addition to embarrassing themselves with a shoddy performance in their first real game at their new stadium, the Dallas Cowboys vastly oversold standing-room-only “Party Pass” tickets in order to set the NFL attendance record. Arlington officials and the Dallas Cowboys are discussing the possibility of reducing the number of standing-room-only tickets by two-thirds after […]

Byrd Emergency

Something happened at Senator Robert Byrd’s home this morning prompting the dispatch of a large fleet of emergency vehicles. Manu Raju reports and speculates for Politico: Ambulances and fire trucks were dispatched to the Northern Virginia home of Sen. Robert Byrd Tuesday morning. A neighbor of the 91-year-old West Virginia Democrat said several ambulances were […]

McGurn: Latimer No Star

William McGurn, head speechwriter for most of President George W. Bush’s administration, takes to the WSJ today to discuss what a failure former junior speechwriter Matt Latimer was at his job.  Oh, it truly pains McGurn to write this about a young man he hired — indeed, he “would have taken them to the grave” […]

The Neuroscience of “Enhanced Interrogation”

Wired reports that studies show that “enhanced interrogation”, far from being a reliable source of information, can actually make someone less of an intelligence asset because the stress involved changes the biochemistry of the brain: “There is a vast literature on the effects of extreme stress on motivation, mood and memory, using both animals and […]

Why “Befuddled”?

Leslie Gelb, distinguished diplomat, journalist, and scholar, professes befuddlement over President Obama’s strategy with respect to Afghanistan: I’m lost on President Barack Obama’s Afghanistan policy—along with most of Congress and the U.S. military. Not quite eight months ago, Mr. Obama pledged to “defeat” al Qaeda in Afghanistan by transforming that country’s political and economic infrastructure, […]

Does Foreign Policy Community Love War?

Glenn Greenwald revisits an old debate, arguing that “Our war-loving Foreign Policy Community hasn’t gone anywhere.” Building off of Marc Lynch‘s blog post yesterday pointing out that General McCrystal’s strategic review calling for more troops in Afghanistan was written by “a dozen smart (mostly) think-tankers,” Greenwald writes,”What would a group of people like that ever […]

Biden: Republican House Takeback ‘End of the Road’

Vice President Joe Biden told a partisan crowd that, if the Republicans win the House back in 2010, it would be “the end of the road for what Barack and I are trying to do.”  Karen Travers for ABC: Biden said Republicans are pinning their political strategy on flipping these seats. “If they take them […]

Caption Contest Winners

The Darth Surrenderus Edition OTB Caption ContestTM is now over. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Debating Afghanistan

An interesting sidebar to the debate sparked by the leak of General McChrystal’s Afghanistan strategy review is the question of how such debates should take place to begin with. Peter Feaver complains that the president has been rushed by leaks.  Pat Lang is irked by the fact that the likely leaker wore a military uniform, […]

Hierarchy of Words

Dan Drezner observes that, “One of the biggest mistakes traditional academics make is to take all words equally seriously.  That is to say, academics who do not write for a non-scholarly audience tend to assume that it takes an equal length of time and effort to compose a journal article, an op-ed, or even a […]

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