Ten Second News

One way forward for the West Bank

by max socol In the bowels of ED Kain’s most recent Israel prophecy, there’s a (pleasantly civil) debate swirling around the security implications of a West Bank withdrawal. As I mentioned there, it reminded me of speaking to Akiva Eldar, the Ha’aretz reporter and author whose anti-settlement politicking has made him a national star, of…

quote for the morning

Torture is an impermissible evil. Except under two circumstances. The first is the ticking time bomb. . . . The second exception to the no-torture rule is the extraction of information from a high-value enemy in possession of high-value information likely to save lives. . . .  ~ Charles Krauthammer Impermissible! I do not think…

A great headline…

A.O. Scott’s review of X-Men Origins: Wolverine is headlined, “I, Mutant, Red in Face and Claw,” which I think is wonderful. It gets me wondering, though: do movie review headline writers have some kind of forum where they make sure they don’t accidently double up on puns? Because it sure would have been embarassing if…

War Crimes, Then and Now

In the course of a very thorough fisking of Michael Goldfarb’s latest attempt to justify torture, Julian Sanchez makes the rather banal observation that failure to prosecute war crimes in World War II doesn’t obviate the need to prosecute war crimes today. Goldfarb’s argument has never made a whole lot of sense to me, but…

Time to Pretend

One thing I like about the blogosphere is that everyone ignores the rituals and forms of establishment politics. To take a recent example, no one bothered to pretend that Arlen Specter switched parties for any reason other than naked self-interest. Banging out a predictable op-ed for the Times, on the other hand, requires a different…

revert to principle

 There’s been quite a conversation on imperialism abrewing. This is Louise-Joseph de Montcalm-Gozon, Marquis de Saint-Veran. A French war hero, he was the most successful of their generals fighting in the French and Indian war. Montcalm was a man of his time, back when imperialism was waged unapologetically, and my reading of his life doesn’t…

“blindingly stupid”

“So, the latest New York Times OP/ED page conservative affirmative action case has his debut editorial for the paper, and what is his trenchant analysis? It’s that the Republicans should have nominated Richard Milhaus Cheney as their presidential nominee in 2008.” ~ Matthew Saroff in a post titled “Ross Douthat is a F$#@ing Moron!”

Hate Crimes

The House is considering new legislation that, as best I can tell, provides state governments with grants for combating hate crimes and mandates additional penalties for criminal acts motivated by racial, religious or sexual animosity.  This is not a debate I’m very familiar with, and my political “team” – such as it is – generally…

The Right to Exist

Upon returning from her visit to the West Bank last month, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton remarked, ““For Israel to get the kind of strong support it is looking for vis-à-vis Iran, it can’t stay on the sidelines with respect to the Palestinians and the peace efforts. They go hand in hand.” Clinton’s visit to…

Barre None

In the middle of a phone conversation with a local Wilkes-Barre reporter, I noticed that her pronunciation of Barre comes out sounding like “burra,” not “bar.” A co-worker with family in Pennsylvania confirms that I did not mishear her, and that most people in the area prefer “burra.” My first guess was that “Barre” is…

difference/disorder

Many critics of this post insist that I am wrong, which I may be. Some further that I am uncaring, which I’m not. And a few that I am interested in pursuing eugenics against those with autism. (No.) Mark is much more measured (and constructive), but he as well as most commenters insists that autism…

How to Redefine a Word

How does the number 183 become 5?  Easy – redefine the verb “to waterboard” as meaning only “sessions of waterboarding.”  Similarly, how does the number 83 become “8 to 10”?  Easy – redefine the verb “to waterboard” as meaning only “long pours of water.”  The good news is that at least we’re moving away from trying…

From Intolerance to Tolerance to Acceptance

Freddie has made a strong argument against viewing autism as a positive thing to be celebrated.  In so doing – and keeping in mind that he is our resident liberal – Freddie argues that such views are political correctness run amok.  To complete the role reversal, I, one of our two resident self-avowed libertarians, am…

Taking Leave of Our Senses

“But the argument isn’t going away. It will be with us as long as the threat of terrorism endures. And where the Bush administration’s interrogation programs are concerned, we’ve heard too much to just “look forward,” as the president would have us do. We need to hear more: What was done and who approved it,…

Why They Fight

Jim Manzi has written a provocative post on the moral distinction between battlefield killing and torturing unarmed POWs: So apparently it’s OK to inflict (the most extreme imaginable) violence when the guy is totally helpless in combat, but suddenly upon his saying the words “I surrender”, any serious violence beyond confinement becomes wrong. Now, the…

autism is a disorder

Those who have read a lot of my stuff know that I am someone who has very little patience for the seemingly endless (brave, bold, contrarian) stances bloggers and pundits make against political correctness. Very often couched in the language of the provocative and the new (when in fact these arguments are old and tired),…

The American Trajectory: Chapter 3 Great Powers

Having successfully replicated the economic construct of our American System among the vast majority of the world’s population, we are now faced with the long-term challenge of replicating it’s political constructs–its laws, its institutions, its culture and associated freedoms of religion, speech, and leadership choice–not merely within nations but across the international system as a…

Tradition in the modern United States.

The briefest description I can give of the point of view for my work as a blogger is this: I’m a Presbyterian wandering around in the gap between Alasdair MacIntyre’s After Virtue and Jeffrey Stout’s Democracy and Tradition. How’s that for brevity? Ah, but it seems to lack something in terms of conveying meaningful information…

Sunday Poem Series

Neutral Tones by Thomas Hardy WE stood by a pond that winter day, And the sun was white, as though chidden of God, And a few leaves lay on the starving sod, -They had fallen from an ash, and were gray. Your eyes on me were as eyes that rove Over tedious riddles solved years…