Category: American Proscenium

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Federalizing Funerals

The Westboro Baptist Church and its bizarre octogenarian pastor, Fred Phelps, won a major victory at the Supreme Court in March.  In an 8-1 decision, the Court reversed a multimillion-dollar award to the family of Marine L.Cpl. Matthew Snyder, who

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Crisis and Denial

At CPAC (the Conservative Political Action Conference), U.S. Rep. Allen West (R-FL) cited the 1999 repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act as the cause of the financial crisis.  He has a point: As long as Glass-Steagall was in place, we had

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Too Big To Bail

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner boasted on December 16 that 2008’s $700 billion bailout of an assortment of private enterprises would ultimately cost taxpayers less than congressional analysts had predicted.  The green eyeshades had calculated that the enormous wealth transfer would

Rainbow Camo
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Rainbow Camo

The controversy over ending Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) is a typical modern morality tale, in which the moral always lose.  Although a few generals and admirals objected to allowing homosexuals to serve openly, a military led by real men

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WikiLeaks

The diversity and overall quality of U.S. diplomatic documents released by WikiLeaks on November 28 is breathtaking.  A quarter-million confidential communications between 274 missions and the State Department will eventually be released—16,000 of them marked “Secret”; 100,000, “Confidential.”  The trove’s

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America’s Defense Bleeds—Out

In the run-up to the November elections, Republicans comforted themselves by passing around an analysis by the bipartisan Congressional Budget Office showing that spending on the Iraq war so far has been “only” $709 billion.  They pointed out that President

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The Panic of 2011

If you’re old or sick and have a lot of money, I suggest taking a trip out of the country, away from your heirs, until January 1, 2011.  And don’t tell them where you’re going.  On that date, the death

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Arizona’s Got Sand

On October 26, 1881, a gunfight erupted in a vacant lot on Fremont Street in Tombstone, Arizona, that would go down in history as the Shootout at the OK Corral.  Virgil, Wyatt, and Morgan Earp and Doc Holliday stood on

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Failure on Many Levels

Goldman Sachs buys and sells securities for customers and also trades for its own book.  It’s the world’s biggest derivatives dealer.  CEO Lloyd Blankfein told a British magazine in late 2009 that they were “doing God’s work.”  Now we know

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Insuring Profits

That cry you heard on the night of March 21, when the 216th vote was cast in favor of President Obama’s “healthcare reform,” was the sound of insurance executives rejoicing before lighting their cigars with $1,000 bills.  As Time reported

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Frankfurt School Tories

It is a strange world in which allegedly conservative politicians will go to great lengths to demonstrate their politically correct bona fides.  For years, we have witnessed this tendency within the Republican Party.  A recent example is the new

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Lost in Space

The world is so messy, and the schedule so cluttered, what with the diverse man who shot all the pitiable unarmed military service­persons, not to mention the Winter Holiday panty-­fizzle-bomber, and there was an inappropriate, unauthorized earthquake in Haiti, and

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Bad Whitey 101, Second Semester

The University of Minnesota’s College of Education and Human Development has declared that all prospective teachers must be taught that some teachers are too white, too rich, too privileged, and too oppressive.

This announcement recalls the shenanigans at the University

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Janie’s Got a Gun

The bodies were barely cold at Ft. Hood when Slate.com writer William Saletan unlimbered his guns.  It is, he announced, time for the military to lift its policy exempting women from combat.  His reason?  A female civilian cop, Sgt. Kimberly

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Obama and the Army of Sodom

Homosexuals coast-to-coast have been doing the slow burn in the past few months because their jug-eared leader, Barack Obama, has delayed fulfilling a key campaign promise: to scrap the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” rule.  The policy is actually federal

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What Now?

According to The New Yorker (September 27), “America did not plunge into an economic abyss” because of the government’s “bold stroke” guaranteeing money-market funds and flipping Goldman Sachs into a bank holding company.  “The reprieve bought enough time for the

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The Gamblers’ Club

On July 15 Goldman Sachs reported that its second-quarter profits were the highest in 140 years.  It netted $3.4 billion on $13.4 billion in revenue (78 percent of which came from trading and principal investments and 11 percent from investment

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Needed: A North Korean “Plan B”

For years, the United States and East Asian nations have proceeded on the assumption that a diplomatic solution to the North Korean nuclear crisis is feasible.  A settlement would entail Pyongyang’s renunciation of its nuclear ambitions in exchange for diplomatic

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Cheney Logorrhea

Pat Buchanan is one of our favorite people and is certainly a source of inspiration for many of our readers.  However, in a recent column entitled “Obama Avoids the Crocodile,” he defends Barack Obama’s decision not to release the horrendous

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Look Who’s Talking

“This conversation doesn’t exist.”  Those were the last words spoken by U.S. Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA) as she concluded her 2005 chat with “a suspected Israeli agent,” as Jeff Stein of Congressional Quarterly put it, during the course of which

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China Ups the Ante

Despite professions of friendship and cooperation in Washington and Beijing, U.S.-Chinese relations in the Obama era are off to a rocky start.  The most prominent cause of tension was an incident in early March in the South China Sea.  U.S.S.

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The Return of the Neocons

The disastrous denouement of the Iraq war, and the revelation that we were lied into invading a country that represented no credible threat to us, had supposedly discredited the authors of that reckless adventure—the neoconservatives centered in and around the

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The Perfect Storm

The best-seller The Perfect Storm tells a true story of a ship caught in a vortex created by a continental low-pressure system, a tropical hurricane, and an arctic cold front off the shores of Newfoundland.  This complex disaster comes to

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Whither Obama’s Foreign Policy?

According to the Washington Post, a senior diplomat from a major European country, a Middle Eastern ambassador, and an Asian ambassador—all of whom represent “major, big-league countries”—have been getting lots of messages from their home offices wondering how exactly

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The Bush Years: A Reversal

We have just survived eight years of the worst American presidency in modern times.  For conservatives, the reign of Bush II was far worse than anything we had to endure previously, but at least in the case of outright statists

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The Guest Who Stayed Forever

I wish I had a dollar—oops, better make that a euro—for every recent obituary marking the political death of neoconservatism.  I would have been able to bail out the grand financial house of Lehman Brothers and avert the tragedy of

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Stumbling Into (Another) War

On August 26, Russian President Dmitri Medvedev recognized the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.  Washington has sharply criticized Moscow for this, while the European Union has threatened sanctions.  Russia and Georgia have signed a cease-fire agreement stipulating that Georgian

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Surging Toward a Time Horizon

Having listened to recent statements made by President George W. Bush and his presumptive heir, John McCain, I am impressed that these two carriers of the neocon torch expect the opponents of their disastrous military misadventure in Mesopotamia, including presumptive

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Sex and Marriage in San Francisco

The California Supreme Court, in striking down the state’s ban on same-sex “marriage,” has issued a declaration of independence from the human race.  Progressives have inevitably compared it to the legalization of interracial marriage, but the same progressives just as

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Texas: Exes and Sexes

When Texas Child Protective Services seized the children of mothers belonging to the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints, I wondered if the Independent Republic was turning Yankee.  The seizure was an abuse of power against the fundamental institution of

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The Food Crisis

These are bad times to be an eater in America, as anyone who has suffered sticker shock at the supermarket can tell you.  The cost of necessities such as bread, milk, and eggs has risen steadily in the last two

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Obama and the “Jewish Vote”

“Concern in Jerusalem: Obama Is Getting Closer to the Presidency” was the headline on the front page of Ma’ariv, an Israeli daily.  “Sources in Jerusalem are worried over the erosion in the support for Hillary Clinton who is considered

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Rudy the Unready

Not so long ago, Rudy Giuliani was the consensus front runner for the Republican presidential nomination.  He had won the first beauty contest of the primary season, from the nation’s most self-important electorate, the neoconservative punditariat: George Will, Norman Podhoretz,

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Another Middle East Fantasy

There is an element of cognitive dissonance in the way that many members of the reality-based community in Washington tend to approach U.S. policy in the Middle East.  Many of my colleagues in Washington have urged policymakers to adopt a

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Mr. Kaine and the Muslim

Though Democrats in Virginia are generally more fiscally conservative than their brethren in such tax-and-spend environs as Massachusetts or New York, some issues require them to adopt the boilerplate liberal platitudes and positions.  Immigration is one of them.  Islam is

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Big Brother Versus Jihad

The very idea of a War on Terror is preposterous.  (Everyone remembers the War on Aviation after Pearl Harbor, right?)  It is so preposterous that our elites have had a difficult time figuring out how to name the enemy, which

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Petraeus and the Senate Chickens

The central character in the little morality play spun out by the Bush administration in making the case for “staying the course” in Iraq is Gen. David Petraeus, commander of our forces in Iraq and the savior of the neocons’

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Out of Iraq, Into Darfur?

In the fourth Democratic presidential debate (July 23), the candidates were united on the need for the United States to withdraw from Iraq.  But most of them (with the notable exception of Bill Richardson) were equally convinced of the need

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Citizen Murdoch

If Rupert Murdoch gets his way, all Earthlings will read one newspaper and watch one television station.  And Murdoch will own both.  So even before the Media Monster That Ate New York and London had the Wall Street Journal

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Children of a Lesser God?

The plight of Iraq’s Christian community—as followers of the Prince of Peace flee from the country they have lived in since ancient times, their homes and churches burned, their children kidnapped and raped, their priests murdered—has elicited barely any

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Plant and Ye Shall Find

The Bush administration says that Iran has “proliferated weapons of mass destruction.”  This time, Condi will make sure they can find some.

On March 28, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Henry Paulson, and Alberto Gonzales determined that Iran’s military-industrial complex,

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Sense and Sensibility

The shootings at Virginia Tech inaugurated a new round of debates not only over such obvious issues as campus security and gun control but of the more fundamental questions of who we think we are as American and who we

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Still Sorry After All These Years

With all the mud spattered on the Confederate Battle Flag of late, you knew it wouldn’t be long before Ol’ Virginny scrubbed up for Jamestown’s 400th anniversary with a grandiloquent apology for slavery.  And Georgia, New York, and other former

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The Guantanamo Question

Who should determine whether alien enemy combatants captured in Iraq and Afghanistan are properly in the custody of the U.S. government at the U.S. Naval Station at Guantanamo Bay?  The President and Congress have set up special military tribunals to