This issue: November 21, 2011 (Vol. 17, No. 10)
In April 2008, days after saying that voters in western Pennsylvania were inclined to cling to religion and guns out of bitterness, Senator Barack Obama sat down for an interview with the editorial board of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette to try to fix some of the damage his remark had done to his presidential campaign. With exceptional frankness, he told the paper’s editors that what troubled him most about his off-handed comment was that it risked confirming some damaging stereotypes about liberals—stereotypes rooted in Democratic excesses of the past that the party had been trying mightily to overcome for decades. Former President Bill Clinton “deserves some credit for having corrected some of those excesses,” Obama said, and he would hate to see that work undone, and liberals once again caricatured.
Big government, big labor, and big business in bed together.
By his own account, President Obama is the champion and protector of the little guy. He said last week he wants no one left “in a second-class status in this United States of America.” He’s “determined” to “make sure that nobody out there is going bankrupt just because somebody in their family is getting sick.” He’s committed to making Washington “responsive to the needs of people, not the needs of special interests [and] not just people who are hurting now, but also responsive to future generations.” Obama identifies himself with the 99 percent.
Yet the winners in the nearly three years of Obama’s presidency are the big guys—big business, big labor, and big government. Corporate profits have reached record levels. The influence of the biggest labor unions ...
As Ohio goes . . . ?
Last week’s election indicates that the GOP marriage with the white working class is on the rocks. That’s bad news, since the epic Republican landslide in 2010 was fueled by record-high margins among these voters. ...
Michigan’s auto insurance nightmare.
When Sam Howell woke up a year after a car accident left him in a coma, doctors believed the St. Charles, Michigan, man would never walk, talk, or eat solid food again. They were wrong, the Saginaw News ...
Gingrich rising in Iowa.
Federal regulation is killing energy development.
American energy policy is increasingly defined in terms of what is prohibited, not what is promoted. Coal, nuclear, and natural “shale” gas all have been hampered by the current administration. And the last three ...
Israel turns up the heat.
The Obama administration’s Iran policy rested on three pillars—the peace process, engagement, and containment. The first would win the newly elected president credit with the Arab people of the Middle East and ...
The Iranian regime is proud of its nuclear program.
Reading the Iranian press last week after the International Atomic Energy Agency released its report on the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program elicited a sense of déjà vu: It could have been the year 2002, when the ...
The liberal obsession with playing the race card.
The tendency of liberals to define the Republican party, the conservative movement, and most recently the Tea Party movement as the latest iteration of the Old South has been persistent, if not always sane. It survived the failure to convince voters that Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush were political scions of Jefferson Davis, survived the appointment by George W. Bush of two black secretaries of state in succession (and the failure of his base to sulk or burn crosses), survived the Tea -Party’s electoral embrace of blacks, Latinos, and immigrants’ children. But will it survive the sight of the most right-wing branch of the right-wing party (no doubt clinging to God and to guns out of bitterness) not only adopting Col. Allen West as its favorite congressman but cheering itself hoarse for a black man running for president as the “anti-Obama” in 2012?
Who is damaged more by anti-Semitism — Jews, or those who organize politics against them?
It now seems that one Jew is worth more than 1,000 Arabs—the rate of exchange established not by Israel, but by Hamas, and celebrated on the Arab street. The “prisoner swap” of more than a thousand Arab prisoners for ...
The faith of the Quiet Beatle.
As a reader who has compulsively consumed the ever-expanding body of Beatles literature for 40 years, I have trouble picking out a favorite anecdote or most memorable quote. Is it John’s “If there is such a thing as a genius, I am one”? Or the note Paul sent John one day in the waning days of the group: “You and your Jap tart think you’re hot s—”? Or maybe it’s the time an airline stewardess offered George a glass of wine, not knowing he was deep in meditation. “F— off,” the spiritual Beatle replied.
I don’t know. I could go on with stories like this all day. None of them involve Ringo, by the way.
Given the vastness and variety of ...
Chronicling the rise and fall of the novelist-celebrity.
Catch a wave, and you’re sittin’ on top of the world.
The lost world of Jews in the Russian empire.
In the early 20th century the Pale of Settlement was home to more Jews than anywhere else in the world.
The politicization of American history—again.
If there were a truth-in-advertising regulation for exhibitions, this latest at the Smithsonian’s American Art Museum would be in trouble. The exhibition is not in a hall, nor is it about wonders, nor really about ...
Golf as sport and theater of human nature.
In How the Scots Invented the Modern World, Arthur Herman posed a bold but credible claim. But there was a major omission: The game of golf, which, with steam engines and classical economics, also originated ...
Christopher Caldwell in occupied London
Chug-a-lugging malt liquor and smashing things may be the Oakland way of expressing support for the Occupy Wall Street movement. But there are other ways. The movement’s English sympathizers seemed to be asking what Jesus would do. In London last week I decided to visit them.
I have a soft spot for the English counterculture, maybe because I know it mostly through books. George Orwell once wrote that “the mere words ‘Socialism’ and ‘Communism’ draw towards them with magnetic force every fruit-juice drinker, nudist, sandal-wearer, sex-maniac, Quaker, ‘Nature Cure’ quack, pacifist, and feminist in England.” Say what you will, Nature Cure quacks are not ...
For those who wonder why American newspapers find themselves in such perilous condition, The Scrapbook recommends a look at the November 10, 2011, Style section of the Washington Post.
The front page is almost entirely consumed with a bird’s-eye view of McPherson Square in Washington, site of one of the “Occupy D.C.” encampments, complete with careful identification of renamed sidewalks—Che Guevara Avenue, Angela Davis Avenue, etc.—and minute annotations of its various components: “The chess tent [where] after dark the ‘de-escalation team’ deploys from here to settle conflicts,” “Camp Malcolm [X], formerly Camp Awesome,” the ...
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