Mr. Netanyahu goes to Washington

Image (above): Ahasuerus and Haman at the Feast of Esther, oil painting by Rembrandt van Rijn, 1660. Netanyahu drew on the story of Esther, the Jewish queen of Persia, in his speech to the U.S. Congress. The prime minister of Israel, Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu, addressed a joint session of Congress on Tuesday. This time, he […]

America’s dashboard GPS of war

Sad to say, this earlier post still applies. It’s all I have to say about l’affaire McChrystal et Petraeus. I’ve read more than one news item describing how drivers sometimes place too much faith in their GPS navigation devices. Guided by the disembodied voice coming from the dashboard, some have doggedly followed dirt roads to […]

A few dots on politics

NASCAR and Congress: I’ve seen yet another approving mention of the idea of dressing politicians in NASCAR-style uniforms bearing the logos of their corporate sponsors. So when is someone going to Photoshop these outfits for us, using data from, say, opensecrets.org? I’d do it myself if I had the time and skills. Health care: Liberals […]

Why We Fight

One of Birmingham’s best writers, Kyle Whitmire, is leaving the Birmingham Weekly where for several years he’s provided the most astute and most readable commentary on city and county affairs. (Hat tip to Wade Kwon.) Rosalind Fournier’s profile of Whitmire at b-metro reveals how Kyle’s column got its name, which is “War on Dumb.” Seems […]

Ask me about the Muslim Mafia

crescent Well, there’s no hiding from the facts. According to several members of Congress, I am a terrorist sympathizer. As an American Muslim and a member of my local Islamic society, I am ipso facto an agent of the “secret underworld that’s conspiring to Islamize America.”

You know, I had no idea. Continue reading “Ask me about the Muslim Mafia”

Why we call it waterboarding

I recently found some supporting evidence for my theory (in this post, one of my most read) that the term waterboarding is intended to make nonsense of a victim’s suffering by comparing his torture to an extreme sport. (Think of snowboarding, etc.) Well, a while ago Isabel Macdonald searched newspaper archives to learn about the […]

That press conference

Coverage of tonight’s Obama press conference, as with the health care reform issue in general, has been tediously focused on political tactics and horse trading. Media consumers are being schooled to feel that reform is a prospect to be feared, as it’s bound to be expensive and is likely to make things worse.

They allow that the U.S. health care system is flawed, but the scale and focus of that critique is almost solely on cost — especially costs to businesses — and the consequences for our “competitiveness.” Because this, you see, is how grown-ups talk about public affairs: in terms of profit, loss, growth prospects, and the global marketplace.

Mark Halperin’s post at the Time magazine blog The Page is a study in this kind of trivia and misdirection. It’s a list of “ways that Obama can make news at his Wednesday press conference” — because mature adults should know that the only thing that matters in politics is how an event feeds the news cycle and sets up the next event. Continue reading “That press conference”