From September, 2013

Hassan Rohani: Really NOT a Moderate

So, much of the media is making a fuss over the possibility that we might actually have an Iranian president who acknowledges the Holocaust and all of its horrors–including the horrors specifically visited on Jews. It’s amazing that we are still debating whether the Holocaust happened, and it is even more amazing still that there are those who are positively rejoicing at the possibility that Hassan Rohani may potentially be not quite as antediluvian as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but given all of the fatuous nonsense that we had to put up with during the Ahmadinejad presidency–including, but not limited to Holocaust…

Russia Is Indeed Back . . .

. . . thanks in large part to diplomatic bungling by the Obama administration over Syria. Ariel Cohen points out that the ramifications of the administration’s errors go far beyond what will happen in Syria: In what appears as yet another strategic blunder, Obama even elected to forego a binding UN Security Council resolution on Syrian disarmament under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, which allows for enforcement, while Putin may hit the geopolitical jackpot. If the disarmament initiative succeeds, Obama will “owe” Putin. America will be enticed to forget quickly the damage caused by the NSA and CIA defector Edward…

Health Care Policy Chaos

We were assured by Nancy Pelosi that we would have to pass health care reform in order to find out what was in it. We did, and most of the revelations about the details of the bill have been disquieting, to say the least. But at the very least, we’re no longer information-starved, right? Alas, wrong: Alabamians hoping to find health insurance through a new federally developed insurance marketplace won’t get any details before October, when the insurance options are scheduled to go online. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports it is working on completing the list of health…

Deeds. Not Words. Deeds.

Ray Takeyh is right on the money when he reminds us what we should expect from Hassan Rohani before we go around calling him “a reformer”: Rouhani’s attempt to refashion Iran’s image and temper its rhetoric should be welcomed. After eight years of Ahmadinejad provocations that often unhinged the international community, a degree of self-restraint is admirable. However, judge Tehran by its conduct and not its words. It is not enough for Rouhani to condemn the use of chemical weapons in Syria. Is he prepared to withdraw the Revolutionary Guard contingents that have done much to buttress Assad’s brutality? It…

Your Quantum Physics Mindbender of the Day

Behold: Physicists have discovered a jewel-like geometric object that dramatically simplifies calculations of particle interactions and challenges the notion that space and time are fundamental components of reality. “This is completely new and very much simpler than anything that has been done before,” said Andrew Hodges, a mathematical physicist at Oxford University who has been following the work. The revelation that particle interactions, the most basic events in nature, may be consequences of geometry significantly advances a decades-long effort to reformulate quantum field theory, the body of laws describing elementary particles and their interactions. Interactions that were previously calculated with mathematical…

This Must Be the Economy We Are Told Is Getting Better All the Time

Imagine how much we would be hearing about this story if a Republican were currently president: It’s almost 6 p.m. on a Friday and the tables near the bar at The Hamilton in downtown Washington are getting crowded. That means waitress Victoria Honard is busy. Honard, 22, who graduated from Syracuse University in May, works about 25 hours a week at the restaurant while looking for a job related to public policy. She moved to Washington four days after graduation with the hope of finding a position at a think tank or policy-related organization, she said, and has applied to about 20 prospective employers. “The…

More Astonishingly Good Obamacare-Related News

Or, you know, not. I know what the Obama administration’s response to these kinds of stories is. “Nothing to see here, move along.” I guess I am just wondering how many more delays, false starts, and implementation problems are supposed to plague the Affordable (ha!) Health Care Act before the media finally starts asking tough questions about the workability of the legislation.

I Am Sure that This Is a Sign of a Thriving Society

Everything is going just fine in Venezuela. What could make anyone think otherwise? Oh. A Venezuelan state agency on Friday ordered the temporary takeover of a factory that produces toilet paper in what it called an effort to ensure consistent supplies after embarrassing shortages earlier this year. Critics of President Nicolas Maduro say the nagging shortages of products ranging from bathroom tissue to milk are a sign his socialist government’s rigid price and currency controls are failing. They have also used the situation to poke fun at his administration on social media networks. A national agency called Sundecop, which enforces…

Hassan Rohani Is No Moderate

To wit. Of course, one does not have to be a “historian” to know that the Holocaust occurred anymore than one has to be a physician to know that the appendix is not responsible for higher cognitive functions. And of course, it should surprise precisely no one to see that the standard language used to denounce Israel remains in use. Perhaps President Obama could write a letter to Rohani, reminding him that if one wants to be taken seriously as a moderate, one actually has to act like a moderate. And perhaps, we ought to put aside for the moment all…