Latest News

The Charlie Watch

The Great Political War in Florida

By 10.8.14

At least this one won’t last for years, and so far no one has actually been killed. But as we note (celebrate would certainly be the wrong word) the centennial of the beginning of The Great War, the current race for the keys to Florida’s governor’s mansion mimics that horrible conflict in that it has settled into trench warfare. A war of attrition, all fought within the margin of error (or, in deference to the current sports season, between the 48 yard lines).

Instead of artillery shells and poison gas, both sides in the current political conflict lob attack ads at each other. Physically much safer. But still no fun for Floridians, most of whom pine for the end of hostilities on Nov. 5. After this date, either incumbent Republican Rick Scott or former Republican governor, now Democrat, Charlie Crist will be awarded another four years as Florida’s governor.

Send to Kindle

The Nation's Pulse

Marijuana Madness in My Earpiece

By 10.8.14

On the evening of September 21, I was sitting in the green room of KTVA, Anchorage, Alaska’s local CBS affiliate, awaiting my turn to discuss the Alaska gubernatorial race live with news anchor Alexis Fernandez on the Ten O’Clock newscast. It was then that my earpiece picked up the shocking conclusion to the report on the Alaska Cannabis Club by the now-infamous Charlo Green. She revealed that she was the owner of the pro-marijuana legalization club that she was covering, and followed that revelation by speedily resolving the obvious conflict of interest: “F--- it, I quit,” she helpfully announced on live air, and then walked off the set.

Send to Kindle

The Current Crisis

Good Old Joe

By 10.8.14

What do you suppose our ebullient vice president says to his sorely pressed staff when he rolls into the office at the end of the day and discovers that, yes, he has done it again? He has committed another verbal blunder, a gaffe as it is called. My guess is that he laughs it off. That is what he does in public. Why should he act any differently in private?

He has been committing gaffes since the beginning of his career. Sometimes they have forced him to cancel a presidential race as in 1988 when he was caught using vivid lines drawn directly from a speech by the British Labour leader Neil Kinnock. Who would have ever noticed, right Joe? Sometimes the gaffes have forced him to make a public apology to one or another foreign power as he did recently with three important allies. Yet most of the time he simply laughs and apologizes while we all laugh along with him. Good old Joe. Remember when he was speaking at the last inauguration to the Iowa State Society Inauguration Ball and he yawped, “I’m proud to be the president of the United States.” Good old Joe.

Send to Kindle

Obama’s Nobel Prize Plus Five

By 10.8.14

President Obama had been in office for just 262 days when the Norwegian Nobel Committee singled out his “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy” in awarding him the Nobel Prize. Nearly five years to the day later (the Nobel was announced October 9, 2009), it should now be clear that his selection was premature — a check drawn on an account with insufficient funds.

At the time of the announcement in Oslo, President Obama himself said he was “surprised” at being chosen, as well he should have been. He was singled out from among 205 nominees, an illustrious assemblage that included Afghan civil rights activists, Chinese dissidents, and veteran heads of state. Their nominations had been based on years of accomplishment; Obama’s reflected only promise.

The Nobel Committee fairly gushed with excitement over the grand new future that the new American president was about to engineer. Less than nine months into his presidency, the Committee proclaimed, “multilateral diplomacy has regained a central position” and Obama’s “vision of a world free from nuclear arms has powerfully stimulated disarmament and arms control negotiations.”

Send to Kindle

A Further Perspective

The Juggernaut

By 10.8.14

The Supreme Court’s decision this week to let lower courts impose gay marriage on the states is one more blow to what is left of the traditional family in America. The unwillingness of the justices to defend the obvious constitutionality of state bans on gay marriage signals the imposition of gay marriage on the entire country. The court’s avoidance of the issue is an illustration of its contempt for the people and its support for elitist change by judicial revolution.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has said that the lesson of Roe v. Wade is not that the court ignored the Constitution but that “it moved too far, too fast.” In other words, the job of a justice is to invent constitutional rights at politically opportune moments. The liberal justices are content to let lower courts do their work for them and then ratify that judicial activism at a safer time.

Send to Kindle

Buy the Book

Ecuador, Chevron, and the Leftist Lawyer Who Stopped at Nothing

By 10.7.14

Law of the Jungle: The $19 Billion Dollar Legal Battle Over Oil in the Rain Forest and the Lawyer Who’d Stop at Nothing to Win It
By Paul M. Barrett
(Crown, 304 pages)

As Eric Hoffer observed, “Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.” In Law of the Jungle, Paul Barrett, an assistant managing editor and senior writer for Bloomberg Businessweek, tells the story of how a crusade to clean up oil pollution in the Amazonian jungle followed that inevitable trajectory, turning into a corrupt enterprise that appears to have failed to accomplish what it set out to do. That’s because the lawyer running the show, Steven Donziger, turned the case into a cause for which, as the subtitle has it, he stopped at nothing.     

Send to Kindle

Main Street U.S.A.

The Lord and the Courts

By 10.7.14

The idea of unelected judges defining norms and basic values has never been an appealing one, but it’s a role modern judges seem generally to welcome. Witness the Supreme Court’s seeming step-back on same-sex marriage: its refusal to wade into the issue by hearing seven appeals on same-sex marriage bans in five states.

The justices define America — for now — as divided over the question. But they appear to see supporters as likely to prevail in the end as lower court after lower court comes down on the side of those arguing that the bans represent unconstitutional discrimination. The court sees where this thing is going; a probable majority of members wants to let nature, as it were, take its course. Far be it from our highest federal tribunal, as presently constituted, to affirm the up-to-now unbroken, uncontradicted testimony of civilization concerning matrimonial ends that can be served only by the union of man and woman.

Send to Kindle

Political Hay

Democrats Save Republicans From Themselves

By 10.7.14

Barack Obama’s mouth provides Republicans with their best opportunity of the midterm cycle.

In this space two weeks ago, at the end of a broadside against Karl Rove and the national Republican establishment for their infelicitous conduct toward fellow Republicans and tepid presentation of the issues in this fall’s midterm election campaign, your author offered this:

A lack of trust and credibility, both with the voters as a whole and with the conservative base, is what’s dissipating the much-expected Republican wave. And while Rove beats the fundraising drums at the Wall Street Journal, the party is neither working to end the war with the Tea Party nor offering reasons why a GOP majority even matters. As such, control over the Senate majority mostly depends on mistakes by the other side in the next six weeks.

Send to Kindle

Politics

The Barbarians Inside the Gates

By 10.7.14

On the eve of Scotland’s vote on independence, News Corporation chairman Rupert Murdoch was on the phone from London to Fox News anchor Neil Cavuto. Said Mr. Murdoch, a man with a legendary political eye:

I think there’s meaning in this, and I think it goes beyond Scotland. There’s a great anti-establishment groundswell which is seen in this vote in Scotland. You’re seeing it here in Britain in the anti-European party, whose one single issue is to get out of Europe. And I think you’re seeing it in France with the polling for Le Pen — I don’t think she’d win, but you know.

And really, you can take the United States and go across to middle America. What do they think of Washington, and Wall Street for that matter? People are really looking for change.

Send to Kindle

The Obama Watch

Ebola and Obama

By 10.7.14

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is both a danger in itself and a wake-up call for Americans — about President Obama, about the institutions of this country and, most important, about ourselves.

There was a time when an outbreak of a deadly disease overseas would bring virtually unanimous agreement that our top priority should be to keep it overseas. Yet Barack Obama has refused to bar entry to the United States by people from countries where the Ebola epidemic rages, as Britain has done.

The reason? Refusing to let people with Ebola enter the United States would conflict with the goal of fighting the disease. In other words, the safety of the American people takes second place to the goal of helping people overseas.

As if to emphasize his priorities, President Obama has ordered thousands of American troops to go into Ebola-stricken Liberia, disregarding the dangers to those troops and to other Americans when the troops return.

What does this say about Obama?

Send to Kindle

Pages