Obama Vs. Nixon


What is the difference between using the Justice Department purely to make political gains with a particular constituency (by urging a lawsuit against a state that was going to find its way to the courts anyway), and using the I.R.S. to soften up your enemies list?

Viva LeBron James! Down With the NBA!


I am the only guy who doesn’t care at all which NBA team scores LeBron James? I mean this in the nicest possible way.

By accident, this week, trying to catch a World Cup update, I saw a quote from “King James” — he wants to be a billionaire, all right, so he can provide not only for his kids but his grandkids. I thought, well, here is further evidence that nobody in America would do a thing for their great-grandkids, in reference to whom our great debt-reduction appeals are never made. But I also thought here is a sad fact about American life. A guy who works his way into fabulous, stupendous, almost superhuman success is ecstatic just to be able to provide financial security for two generations of family members — with billions of dollars.

Would Mr. Erdogan kindly care for this Muslim woman?


Burak Bekdil, an excellent Turkish columnist, is waiting for Prime Minister Erdoğan to use his much-vaunted influence over Iran on behalf of Sakineh Mohammedie Ashtiani:

We know by evidence that Mr. Erdoğan has a soft spot for Muslims being subjected to cruelty in all corners of the world, and Ms. Ashtiani is a Muslim lady. Besides, Ms. Ashtiani speaks Turkish, not Farsi; and perhaps Mr. Erdopan would view her as kin? Above all, Mr. Erdoğan has brotherly relations with Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who can pardon her.

The Mavi Marmara metaphor


Standpoint’s Dave Rich observes that the flotilla is a metaphor for the whole left-Islamist alliance.

This is the wider point about the alliance in Europe of leftists and Islamists. Islamism, globally, is a movement with energy, resources, self-belief and, in some countries, real power. Socialism is anything but. It has failed in power and lost its ideological certitude a long time ago, to be replaced by a vague and, at times, contradictory, set of ideas: anti-globalisation, environmentalism, anti-imperialism and so on. This is not an alliance of equals. European leftists, so used to being the junior partner in their cooperation with Islamists at home, have given up any pretence that their support for Hamas and other Islamist movements is one of critical engagement, or that they would rather work with secular, liberal forces in Palestinian society (or even their own). In this respect, the flotilla is a metaphor for the whole left-Islamist alliance. A journey over which leftists have a semblance of influence but little real control, into a confrontation not of their own making, from which they derive no political benefit.

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This week we’re joined by Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty and Ricochet legal gurus John Yoo and Richard Epstein on Kagan. We also shout out to some Ricochet members (you’ll have to listen to find out who), discuss human behavior in parking lots, the psychology of motorcades, and offer some predictions on taxes (guess!). Discuss and […]

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Donald Berwick and the High-Water Mark of Obamaism


The (understandable) outrage over President Obama’s recess appointment of Donald Berwick to run the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services masks an important fact: Obama’s mastery of Congress is almost certainly over.

To understand why, recall that President Bush’s recess appointment of John Bolton to the post of U.N. ambassador was an early indicator that the Bush Doctrine was running into tough opposition and Dubya’s second term would not be as successful as his first.

“Misleading” and “Erroneous” — and Other Words of Praise for Climate Scientists


This week, two reports — one Dutch, one British — have been issued regarding Climategate, i.e., climate scientists deliberately ignoring, or actively concealing, contrary evidence.

Both reports confirm that the Nobel-prize-winning scientists of the IPCC often played fast-and-loose with the data, but I’m shocked (shocked!) to find that most media outlets are spinning these reports as a vindication of climate scientists. “Climatechange scientists in e-mail scandal cleared again‎” says the LA Times, with notable grumpiness (must we go through this again?)

This Must Be H–v-n. I’ll Buy A Vowel.


I don’t like to quote myself because when I do my wife throws things at me, but reading Pat Sajak’s truly excellent posts here, I couldn’t help reflecting back on an interview I did a few years ago with Big Hollywood‘s wonderful John Nolte on his now-defunct website Dirty Harry’s Place. John asked me about my conversion to Christianity and I said:

I don’t believe that life is some kind of game show, you know, where you guess the proper name of God and Pat Sajak opens the door and lets you into heaven. I mean, I’m sure Pat Sajak is involved in some capacity, but I don’t think you’re going to hell if you disagree with me or anything like that.

“Harry Potter” Movie Makes $938 Million, But is Still in the Red


To those of us who live and work in Hollywood, the news that Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix grossed almost $1 billion, but somehow still about $167 million in the red makes perfect sense.

It’s all about the difference between gross profit — that is, money off the top, before fees, interest, and other charges are factored in — and net profit, which is what’s supposed to be left over after everyone else has been paid.

SF Mayor Gavin Newsom Wants You to Get Fat


Professional political clown and San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom has issued an order:

Under an executive order from Mayor Gavin Newsom, Coke, Pepsi and Fanta Orange are no longer allowed in vending machines on city property, although their diet counterparts are – up to a point.Newsom’s directive, issued in April but whose practical impacts are starting to be felt now, bars calorically sweetened beverages from vending machines on city property.That includes non-diet sodas, sports drinks and artificially sweetened water. Juice must be 100 percent fruit or vegetable juice with no added sweeteners. Diet sodas can be no more than 25 percent of the items offered, the directive says.There should be “ample choices” of water, “soy milk, rice milk and other similar dairy or non dairy milk,” says the directive, which also covers fat and sugar content in vending machine snacks.

Thou Shalt Not Praise a Dead Terrorist


What is there to say about the CNN editor fired for saying she has respect for a deceased Hezbollah cleric?

This: Our times apparently require us to join in a new game. When it comes to obituary praise, who’s beyond the pale? Something about this game offends my sensibilities. But it’s the talk of Twitter. And it raises what I suppose is an important question: where’s the red line for a firing offense in situations like these?

To hell with Congress, here’s your new Medicare director


This ranks right up there with deeming a non-budget into existence and deeming it passed. Anyone notice this? Here’s Dr. Donald M. Bermick, your new head of Medicare and Medicaid. He was appointed during a recess, according to President Obama, because otherwise Congress might have had some objections. Why might they have had some objections? Couldn’t be because he holds views like this, could it?