Obama’s ‘Sweetheart’ Home Loan

The Manufactured Outrage of the Day comes to us from Joe Stephens and his page A3 piece for today’s Washington Post, “Obama Got Discount on Home Loan.” Shortly after joining the U.S. Senate and while enjoying a surge in income, Barack Obama bought a $1.65 million restored Georgian mansion in an upscale Chicago neighborhood. To […]

McCains Pay Back Taxes on Aunt’s Condo

The latest mini-scandal in Campaign 2008 is that the McCains have apparently not done a good job keeping track of their finances.   HuffPo has gotten 1420 Diggs at this writing with a story headlined “McCains Defaulted On Home Taxes For Last Four Years, Newsweek Reports.” It promises “a highly embarrassing report.”  Newsweek has delivered with […]

Subsidizing Home Ownership

Ezra Klein jumps on a growing meme the home ownership isn’t all it’s cracked up to be and that the government should stop subsidizing it. He points to Paul Krugman, who argues in today’s NYT that it’s time to rethink our decades-long bipartisan consensus that home ownership should be encouraged. While everyone stresses the advantages […]

McCain Veepstakes: A Woman?

David Paul Kuhn argues that John McCain should strongly consider choosing a woman as his vice presidential running mate in order to woo angry Hillary Clinton supporters. That premise strikes me as absurd, in that no Republican woman is going to be a suitable substitute for Clinton in the minds of her supporters. Still, reaching […]

U.S. Airstrikes Kill Pakistani Troops

Pakistan is condemning a U.S. air strike which allegedly killed 11 Pakistani paramilitaries as a “completely unprovoked and cowardly act.” U.S.-led forces killed Pakistani troops in an airstrike along the volatile Afghan border that Pakistan’s army condemned on Wednesday as “completely unprovoked and cowardly.” U.S. officials confirmed that three aircraft launched about a dozen bombs […]

Fulbright Scholarships Restored for Gaza Students

A bureaucratic SNAFU almost cost seven Palestinian students their ability to study abroad on prestigious Fulbright scholarships. The U.S. has reinstated the Fulbright scholarships of seven Gaza Strip students blocked by Israel from leaving the Hamas-ruled territory, the State Department said Monday. The students were informed Thursday that their scholarships for the upcoming academic year […]

Condi Rice School of International Studies?

I’ve just gotten this PR announcement from Denver University, with which I’m not affiliated: DU’s Graduate School of International Studies will be renamed tomorrow, Wednesday, May 28. Renaming the school will honor one of the most notable and successful individuals in DU history, as well as mark an exciting time for the school. Former U.S. […]

Bush to Attack Iran Before Leaving Office?

A thinly-sourced report by the Jerusalem Post claiming that President Bush had told the Israeli government that he plans to attack Iran before leaving office has been flatly denied by the White House. The White House on Tuesday flatly denied an Army Radio report that claimed US President George W. Bush intends to attack Iran […]

Caption Contest Winners

The Eight Belles Edition OTB Caption ContestTM is now over.

Baghdad Luxury Hotels and Condos

The Pentagon is backing a massive development project financed by Marriott and others to gentrify Baghdad. Forget the rocket attacks, concrete blast walls and lack of a sewer system. Now try to imagine luxury hotels, a shopping center and even condos in the heart of Baghdad. That’s all part of a five-year development “dream list” […]

Not So Fast With That “Pentagon Study”

This morning the Miami Herald published a story quoting a “Pentagon study” that found the situation in Iraq “a major debacle” with the “outcome in doubt”. The story is also being carried by McClatchy, the Herald’s parent company. Obviously, quite a few in the blogosphere have made substantial hay out of the piece. The excellent […]

McCain-Rice Beats Obama-Clinton in New York

A John McCain-Condolezza Rice ticket would beat the Democratic “Dream Ticket” of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in Clinton’s “home” state of New York, a Marist College poll shows. A McCain/Rice ticket would edge out both a Clinton/Obama or Obama/Clinton ticket for New York’s 31, usually true blue, electoral votes: 49% of registered voters in […]

Randi Rhodes Suspended For Calling Hillary ‘Big F-ing Whore’

The bitterness of the Democratic presidential race kicked up another notch yesterday, with the discovery that popular Air America radio host Randi Rhodes recently performed a profanity-laced standup routine in which both Geraldine Ferraro and Hillary Clinton were repeatedly referred to as “big f-ing whores” (minus the sanitization, naturally). (She also called Richard Nixon, Ronald […]

Keith Maupin’s Remains Identified

The body of Staff Sergeant Keith Maupin, the American soldier who was captured and murdered nearly four years ago, has finally been officially identified. Sgt. Keith Matthew Maupin’s parents vowed to never let the U.S. Army forget about finding their son. Their efforts included trips to the Pentagon and even meeting with President Bush, but […]

Basra Tactics, Strategy, and Theory in Conflict

Ilan Goldenberg notes that, for all the United States has invested in Iraq — and in propping up Maliki — we’ve gotten very little in return in this particular episode. By most educated guesses (although by no means all) Maliki didn’t bother to seek our input before launching this messy internecine fight with the Shiite […]

Wilders Film ‘Fitna’ Incites Muslims

Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders has debuted a new film that compares Islam to fascism. No rioting has yet ensued. Iran and Indonesia on Friday condemned a film by a Dutch lawmaker that accuses the Koran of inciting violence, while Dutch Muslim leaders urged restraint. Islam critic Geert Wilders launched his movie on Thursday evening. Titled […]

The Passport Story

Via the AP: Clinton Says Her Passport File Breached Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has told Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton that her passport file was breached in 2007 In a statement from her Senate office, Clinton said she had been contacted by Rice. The State Department plans to brief Clinton’s staff Friday about the unauthorized […]

State Dept. Contractors Caught Snooping Obama Records

Via Marc Ambinder and reporter Bill Gertz of the Moonie Washington Times, three State Department contract employees were recently caught sneaking peeks at Barack Obama’s passport records. The relevant particulars from Gertz’s piece: The officials, all contract workers, used their authorized computer network access to look up files within the department’s consular affairs section, which […]

Obama’s ‘More Perfect Union’ Speech

Barack Obama gave his big race speech today. I haven’t heard it, just read the transcripts of the pre-release text and the as-delivered version. My colleague Dave Schuler observes, “I’ll wait for the overnight polls. Otherwise my remarks would just be a Rorschach test which is what the commentaries I’ve heard so far have been.” […]

Bill Buckley and The Gays

Andrew Sullivan appreciated the late William F. Buckley, Jr.’s civil tone on matters of homosexuality, especially as contrasted with other conservatives of his era, but laments that “Buckley never challenged what he believed was a necessary moral and social injunction against gay love, marriage and sex.” GayPatriot‘s B. Daniel Blatt is more charitable, noting that, […]

Rice Rules Out VP Run

Condi Rice will not be John McCain’s running mate. Condoleezza Rice’s name on the Republican ticket is a dream to some, but not a reality she can see happening. The secretary of State told reporters Friday she will not be a vice presidential candidate in the upcoming election. “I have always said that the one […]

Bush’s Iraq War Lies Were Untrue

Much hubbub overnight by a joint Center for Public Integrity – Fund for Independence in Journalism study of statements made by Bush administration officials in their attempt to sell the Iraq War. AP/YahooNews: Study: False statements preceded war A study by two nonprofit journalism organizations found that President Bush and top administration officials issued hundreds […]

CIA Destroyed Subpoenaed Torture Tapes they Denied Existed While Congress Stood By

The CIA destroyed at least two tapes of its operatives using “severe interrogation techniques” to obtain information from suspected terrorists, Mark Mazetti reports for the NYT. Both the 9/11 Commission and attorneys for Zacarias Moussaoui had specifically requested any such evidence and Agency officials had previously denied, under oath, that any such tapes ever existed. […]

Mike Huckabee Too Moralistic to be President?

Paul Mirengoff argues that Mike Huckabee is weak on national security because he’s blinded by his ideals. My main objection to Huckabee — the reason why he’s my fifth choice out of five — is that I lack confidence in his ability to fight terrorism. It’s not just that he lacks experience in this realm, […]

James Jones Appointed Middle East Special Envoy

Former Marine Commandant and Supreme Allied Commander James Jones will be appointed as Special Envoy for Middle East Security, AP reports. A former NATO commander is expected to accept a role as adviser to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on security issues related to negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians on a peace accord, officials […]

Condoleeza Rice’s Highs and Lows

While Condoleeza Rice’s tenure as Secretary of State is, so far as I’m aware, not set to expire for another fourteen months, the AP has nonetheless rolled out a story on Rice’s Highs and Lows. Interestingly, the listed highs are pretty substantial and the lows seem to be almost entirely happenstance. Among the lows: Getting […]

Hillary Leads Obama by 22 Points, Tied with Giuliani

Hillary Clinton continues to dominate the Democratic field but has lost ground in hypothetical match-ups with Republicans, a new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll finds. After a debate performance last week that continues to produce headlines — and that she admitted wasn’t her best showing — Hillary Clinton continues to enjoy a 20-point lead over her […]

Abstinence-Only Teaching Doesn’t Curb Teen Sex

YahooNews apparently thought the better of their headline “Report: Abstinence not curbing teen sex,” which is rather like saying “Eating not curbing hunger,” and replaced it with the more logically consistent “.” We pretty much already knew that, but here’s the gist of the story: Programs that focus exclusively on abstinence have not been shown […]

Should Illegal Immigrants Get Driver’s Licenses?

Matt Yglesias notes that the Democratic presidential aspirants are having a difficult time answering the seemingly straightforward question, “Should illegal immigrants get driver’s licenses?” The problem with saying “yes” isn’t just that it’s unpopular, it’s that it’s unpopular because it sounds ridiculous. Quite right. I understand the argument that we’ve got millions of illegal aliens […]

FSO’s Rebel Over Iraq Assignment Policy

Foreign Service Officers are in open rebellion over an announcement that some will be ordered to go to Iraq if enough volunteers are not found. At a town hall meeting in the department’s main auditorium attended by hundreds of Foreign Service officers, some of them criticized fundamental aspects of State’s personnel policies in Iraq. They […]

Decline of U.S. – Turkish Alliance

An interesting piece in today’s CSM explores “Why Turks no longer love the U.S..” The US has hailed Turkey as moderate Islamic democracy, the kind it would like to see develop elsewhere. It’s a key NATO ally, with US aircraft stationed here. Yet, as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice arrives in Ankara Friday to defuse […]

Karen Hughes Leaving Public Diplomacy Post

Karen Hughes has announced that she’s leaving her post as Under Secretary of Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. Karen Hughes, who led efforts to improve the U.S. image abroad and was one of President Bush’s last remaining advisers from the close circle of Texas aides, will leave the government at the end of the year. […]

DoD to Control War Zone Contractors

The Defense Department appears about to get jurisdiction over security contractors operating in war zones. Congress is moving to put all armed contractors operating in combat zones under military control, acting on a Pentagon recommendation that could run into resistance at the State Department. The Senate this month included such a requirement in its 2008 […]

Rice Calls for Palestinian State

The United States has, more explicitly than before, called for a Palestinian state. Saying the time is now for a Palestinian state, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Monday prodded Israel and the Palestinians to agree at a U.S.-sponsored conference this fall on how and when to start formal peace talks. In one of her […]

What is Torture?

Before everybody jumps all over me (or, at least, before they jump all over me for the wrong thing), I’m probably more of an anti-torture absolutist than James is and I’m certainly more of an anti-torture absolutist than some commenters here are. I don’t plan to explain my reasoning or defend it again here. Check […]

Forbes List of 100 Most Powerful Women

Forbes has produced its 2007 list of the world’s most powerful women. At the top of the list is Angela Merkel. I can understand Forbes’s reasoning. As the head of government of the country with the world’s third largest economy (and the largest in Europe). She’s a good pick. I can also understand Forbes’s pick […]

Christiana Hendrix, 1974-2007

Christiana Hendrix, wife of Cold Fury blogger Mike, was killed in a motorcycle accident Friday. My condolences. Others: Joe Lemyre, Dean Esmay, Marc Danzinger, Rich Moran, Bob Owens, Glenn Reynolds

Hillary Clinton’s Neckline

Robin Givhan is at it again. She has a story on C1 of today’s WaPo about Hillary Clinton’s cleavage. There was cleavage on display Wednesday afternoon on C-SPAN2. It belonged to Sen. Hillary Clinton. She was talking on the Senate floor about the burdensome cost of higher education. She was wearing a rose-colored blazer over […]

Cheney Pushing Military Action Against Iran?

Dick Cheney is pushing hard for escalation of military threats against Iran, Ewen MacAskill and Julian Borger report in today’s Guardian. The balance in the internal White House debate over Iran has shifted back in favour of military action before President George Bush leaves office in 18 months, the Guardian has learned. The shift follows […]

Laura Bush to Attend Lady Bird Johnson Funeral

The two most recent First Ladies from Texas will attend the funeral of their predecessor: Laura Bush is canceling a scheduled appearance Saturday in Indiana to attend Lady Bird Johnson’s funeral. The first lady will attend the services in Austin, Texas, with her mother-in-law, former first lady Barbara Bush, her office said Thursday. That seems […]

Libby Commutation Reactions

As one would expect, last evening’s news that President Bush has commuted Scooter Libby’s jail sentence has spawned a huge amount of controversy in the blogosphere, with some decrying it as the greatest outrage since Watergate and others complaining it didn’t go far enough. From the Left: Nancy Pelosi: “The President’s commutation of Scooter Libby’s […]

Africa AIDS Ignorance

Dan Drezner and Preeti Aroon decry the woeful state of understanding of AIDS in Africa. Among the more astonishing examples is the president of Gambia’s claim to be able to personally cure the disease (along with asthma and diabetes) and the South African vice president — the former head of the country’s AIDS program, no […]

Embassy Staff In Baghdad Inadequate

Our ambassador to Iraq believes the State Department’s contingency there is inadequate. Ryan C. Crocker, the new U.S. ambassador to Iraq, bluntly told Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in a cable dated May 31 that the embassy in Baghdad — the largest and most expensive U.S. embassy — lacks enough well-qualified staff members and that […]

Jim Webb Finally Claims Gun, Makes Up with Bush

Senator Jim Webb has finally admitted that the gun an aide was arrested for attempting to get past Capitol security was his in an interview with the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Sen. Jim Webb has dispelled any lingering mystery about it: The pistol involved in the arrest of a top Webb aide was the senator’s. “It’s my […]

Kurt Waldheim Dead at 88

Kurt Waldheim has died. Former U.N. Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim, whose legacy as head of the world body was overshadowed by revelations that he belonged to a German army unit that committed atrocities in the Balkans in World War II, died Thursday. He was 88. Waldheim, who was hospitalized in Vienna last month with an infection, […]

Debating the War

Andrew J. Bacevich, a Vietnam veteran and international relations scholar who has publicly opposed the Iraq War for years recently lost his son to that war. In addition to the horrible grief that a father has to deal with the death a son, he has been accused of contributing to that outcome because his public […]

Not Jimmy Carter Bad

London Times U.S. editor Gerard Baker assesses Jimmy Carter’s claim that George W. Bush’s presidency is the “the worst in history” and judges that, while it is bad, “it’s not Jimmy Carter bad.” For the younger reader, perhaps already infused with a nostalgia that recalls the 1970s as a time of peace and prosperity, a […]

Pricing Civilian Casualties

Andrew Sullivan cites without comment an AlterNet piece by The Nation‘s Tom Engelhardt comparing the compensation paid by Congress to the families of 9/11 victims to the “condolence payments” to host nation civilians accidentally killed as a result of our military action in Afghanistan and Iraq. Using publicly available numbers, one can calculate that the […]

1LT Andrew Bacevich Killed in Iraq

First Lieutenant Andrew J. Bacevich, Jr. has been killed in action. The son of a Boston University professor who has been a critic of the war was killed in Iraq, the Defense Department said Monday. First Lt. Andrew J. Bacevich was the son of Andrew J. Bacevich, an international relations professor who has said that […]

Hamas Uses Mickey Mouse to Teach Terror

Mickey Mouse: Jihad leader? He looks like Mickey Mouse and sounds like Mickey Mouse, but what he’s saying is hardly the fairytale stuff of Disney. A Mickey Mouse look-alike named Farfur is teaching Palestinian children the ABCs of terror on Hamas’ official television station, Al-Aqsa TV. On the weekly program “Tomorrow’s Pioneers,” Farfur and a […]

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