Kim Jong Il is Dead; New Tyrants Come

While you were sleeping our already-roiling world took another hit to its tenuous stability:North Korean leader Kim Jong-il has died at the age of 69, state-run television has announced.Mr Kim, who has led the communist nation since the death of his father in 1994, died on a train while visiting an area outside the capital, the announcement said.He suffered a stroke in 2008 and was absent from public view for months.Pyongyang described his son Kim Jong-un as the "great successor" … [Read more...]

Keller's shortsighted religious bigotry – UPDATED

My column at First Things today looks at Bill Keller's recent piece demanding "tougher questions" be asked about the religious views of presidential candidates -- or, at least, of Republican presidential candidates.It goes without saying, only Republican religious beliefs should be queried in Bill Keller's world:Others have ably pointed out that Keller’s own paper conveniently displayed minimal interest in the religious beliefs of the candidate Barack Obama or those of his rather fervid p … [Read more...]

Cuomo's no Thomas More; Dowd's Still Dowd

I really want to stop writing about her but Maureen Dowd's extended adolescence just attracts my morbid curiosity, and next thing I know, I have an urge to fisk. Writing on NY Governor Andrew Cuomo, she's just so irresistibly herself:“It’s troubling for me as a Catholic to be at odds with the church,” he began, before dissolving into a wry laugh. “Having said that, it seems that my entire political life, the tension with the church has come up again and again.”Yes, that's some laughing matte … [Read more...]

Egypt: As Vague as We Wanna Be – UPDATED

PhotosourceIn 2003, when the United States liberated Iraq, an older Iraqi man related his vision of what life would be like without Saddam Hussein.“Democracy!” he shouted. “And whiskey! And sexy!” Yes, but perhaps with a Middle-Eastern, faith-based spin that intellect-based Washington could never quite grasp, not in Iraq, not in Afghanistan, and now, not in Egypt.My column at First Things takes a look at Egypt, and the nearly impenetrable vagueness that has surrounded the story of the Januar … [Read more...]

NY Times' Perpetual Lunchroom

I've always said the NY Times primarily -- note the qualifier -- featured a bunch of developmentally-arrested 14-year olds who have never been able to find their way out of the lunch room or the schoolyard, and these two pathetic pieces, showcased in what is arguably the most coveted real-estate in journalism, make the case.Gail Collins, the editor of the op-ed page, while writing about Michele Bachmann, takes time to affect a sneer because Bachmann can remember what she was wearing on a … [Read more...]

Gentlemen: A tale of two apologies – UPDATE

First read the New York Times going through a long, belabored and ultimately lame exercise of excuse-making where a simple "we screwed up, sorry" would have sufficed - as Jerry Wilson ably fisks.It was hectic in the newsroom with many news reports flowing in as Kathleen McElroy, the day Web news editor, was trying to decide whether The Times was ready to report Giffords’s death. She decided against it and was telling Web producers to hold off reporting it in a news alert when J. David Goodman, … [Read more...]

Surrender unto Surrender for Peace – UPDATED

I admit, my Tuesday column requires some patience. If you jump too quickly you're going to think I'm saying Christians should never defend themselves.Jesus surely didn’t preach that; he didn't preach a crusade either. He taught us to turn the other cheek.Our instincts tell us that turning the other cheek is stupid, but this is what Christ preached. He did not teach that we were meant to conquer others—be they radical Islamists, or gay activists, or evangelical atheists—but that we were to co … [Read more...]

Olby's short, sweet suspension – UPDATED

I've had a few emails from people rolling their eyes at the "high drama" of Keith Olbermann's suspension at MSNBC, which appears to have been a big nothing. He'll be back on the air soon.A friend wondered if the whole thing was a publicity stunt.If it was, it sort of blew up in their faces, didn't it? If they'd expected the rightwing punditry to engage in gleeful vindictiveness over his suspension, they had to be disappointed. Many on the right were appalled at the suspension and decried … [Read more...]

On Palin; No Animus, No Condescension

In my piece yesterday at Pajamas Media I wrote:. . .thrust-and-parry between a candidate and the media can both sharpen a candidate’s edge and enliven his footwork to his benefit; one smooth slice, well-timed, can topple both press and opponent, and linger in a voter’s memory as a satisfying match they want to see replayed . . . This is something Sarah Palin (and for that matter, the Tea Partiers) may wish to keep in mind for 2012. Palin is perfectly capable of deft bladework, but too often cho … [Read more...]

Juan Williams: Fired for Doubting – UPDATED

(Graphic via Ed Driscoll, who has a good roundup)I wonder if it was smart of NPR to--12 days out from an election where leftism is headed for a defeat of rejection--re-inforce the perception that both liberalism and the media are out of control; that they have utterly cast off their former roles as champions of free speech and free thought, in favor of compulsory conformity.On consideration, I (along with Andrew Malcolm) say, no...not smart. Catastrophically not smart.My first thought … [Read more...]


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