Who Is James Bond?

That’s the question your diarist poses in this new Splice Today piece. The answer Ian Fleming’s books suggest is that there are really two James Bonds: the Bond of Casino Royale and the more popularized Bond of the rest of the series and most of the movies. Daniel Craig’s turn as Bond, the piece argues, is a return to a less comic book, more interesting Bond. To help make that point, it quotes the opening of Fleming’s first novel, which… Read more

Strange Unbedfellows

In my election day piece for Splice Today, “Pot: Why Not?” I look at the hurdles that would-be advocates of marijuana decriminalization face, including a refusal to cooperate by parties that might agree on this issue. To wit: Given their general pro-market politics, Republicans ought overwhelmingly to favor decriminalization, and more. The conservative National Review famously came out in favor of complete legalization well over a decade ago with the cover headline “The War on Drugs Is Lost.” That principled… Read more

Pro-Choice? Surely You Jest

This turned out to be very different essay from the one I intended to write, but I’m not sure that’s a bad thing. In the American Spectator today, I explain what an odd fit the pro-choice position is in Democratic politics: As a party, Democrats are not pro-choice on what light bulbs you should be allowed to use, spending public school funds to enroll children in private or charter schools or how much water your toilet ought to be able… Read more

Question for the New York Review of Books

Why have an election symposium if everybody is just going to say the same boring thing? Read more

Bush’s Third Term

Gene Healy has churned out a new edition on presidential power. In the process, your diarist argues in the American Spectator today, he also wrote another, more useful book: Candidate Barack Obama presented himself as an agent of hope and change, a dramatic break with the failed policies and cynical politics of a tired, retiring president. That is not, to put it mildly, how things have panned out. Once electoral fervor dies down, scholars will surely notice something rather awkward:… Read more

Not the Onion (Close–the New Statesman)

Look, I understand that the British press thinks of most fact-checking where libel law isn’t involved (that is, in most international stories) as an extravagance. But really, New Statesman? Really? This is an actual paragraph from an actual cover story in one of the leading political magazines in the UK. Seriously, here’s the link. See if you can spot the problem: Romney has said he would be happy to sign a law making all abortion illegal in all circumstances, including… Read more

The Rape Election

I did my my first and, hopefully, last radio interview on the subject of rape on Halloween. You can listen to that here. The subject was the comments made by Washington state House candidate John Koster, which only add to a truly unprecedented campaign filled with rape talk. I beg Republicans to put a cork in it for my latest piece for Splice Today. Will they listen? Not likely. Read more

I’m Huge in Portugal

Maria Joao Guimaraes, a reporter for the Portuguese newspaper Publico, interviewed your diarist for her story “Carter, Bush-pai e a hipotese de Obama ser um Presidente de um so mandato,” about one-term presidents. Normally one would comment on it here. Unfortunately, this one does not read Portuguese and the Portuguese-to-English translator consulted was not so good. Best to just trust she did a good job and invite readers to have at it. Read more

Obamacare or Somalia

This comment by Jeremy Lott’s Diary reader “Alex” amused me. I reproduce it here in full, without commentary. Will circle back to answer some of this later. Probably tomorrow: Do the Republicans have an alternative to Obamacare? Actually none. (Contrary to Romney’s opinion, the ER is not an alternative to primary care. I should know as I work in one) The status quo is horrible and way more expensive. Having Healthcare mandates is a key way to to reduce healthcare… Read more

Politics for Eight-Year-Olds

Last week, a very good friend told me about a class project her daughter was undertaking. She was supposed to solicit the help of family and friends to produce a newspaper, and would I be willing to write up a short news story on the presidential race? The only twist was, it had to be written for an eight- to ten-year-old audience. This proved more challenging and more fun than I expected, so I thought I’d share the result with… Read more