An island paradise for former dictators

It’s nice to get a link from a high-traffic blog like Andrew Sullivan’s. Unfortunately, that link goes to what I think is one of my more hare-brained ideas — a weird scheme to conscript jury duty into service as an employment office. This is, I think, a Bad Idea — see the comment thread there [Read More…]

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Don't you know that you can count me out

The tea party and the loudest, most strident voices of anti-abortion politics love to flirt with the idea of armed revolution. This is, for the most part, just adolescent foolishness — a kind of fantasy play-acting that can be summed up in a single word: Wolveriiiiiines! By pretending to believe that America is on the [Read More…]

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Sez who?

"Nature and Nature's God" was Thomas Jefferson's lovely phrase for the basis of the rights we asserted in the Declaration of Independence. That was his shorthand answer to the question "Sez who?" He didn't have time in that document for a treatise on the basis, source or origin of human rights. His point wasn't to [Read More…]

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August 9

It is not permissible to deliberately target non-combatants with a weapon of mass destruction. To do so is always, in all times and places, wrong and monstrous and forbidden. That's not my rule. It existed for centuries before I was born and it will remain true long after I die. It has, over the centuries, [Read More…]

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Military precision

With all due respect to India’s prime minister, Manmohan Singh, and with sympathy for the tragic loss of life his country recently suffered in the murderous attacks in Mumbai, it’s still necessary to point out that his statement earlier today grievously — and destructively — mischaracterizes those attacks. Here is what the prime minister said: [Read More…]

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Cleaning the lake

Here is the passage I was looking for the other day when I instead stumbled onto that bit about cheese sandwiches. This is from Philip Gourevitch’s award-winning history and meditation, We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families. The desertion of Rwanda by the UN force was Hutu Power’s [Read More…]

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Not a “terror suspect”

Michael Melia of the Associated Press reports today that: A U.S. military tribunal convening Monday at Guantanamo will hear challenges from attorneys for a Canadian terror suspect accused of killing an American soldier when he was 15 — an age they say should disqualify him from trial. Lawyers for Toronto-born Omar Khadr, who is now [Read More…]

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Deliberate ambiguity

"You have the luxury of not knowing what I know. … You don't want the truth because deep down in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that wall, you need me on that wall." The above is from the famous speech by Jack Nicholson's character in Aaron Sorkin's A Few [Read More…]

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