From the “Most Transparent Administration Ever,” a Request that the Press Not Do Its Job

No, seriously: First lady Michelle Obama appeared with [Wisconsin Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary] Burke later Monday in Milwaukee, praising her for starting a program to help students get to college, before recalling the challenges President Barack Obama faced when he took office. The crowd cheered as Mrs. Obama talked about restoring the economy and overhauling the …

An Intelligence Failure of Alarming Proportions

How bad were we at assessing the threat posed by ISIL? This bad: By late last year, classified American intelligence reports painted an increasingly ominous picture of a growing threat from Sunni extremists in Syria, according to senior intelligence and military officials. Just as worrisome, they said, were reports of deteriorating readiness and morale among …

Quote of the Day

MARACAY, Venezuela—A string of deaths in a hospital here has sparked fears of a potent, mosquito-borne disease and led authorities to seek a doctor's arrest for allegedly sowing panic, leaving residents wondering how to explain their symptoms. Angel Sarmiento, president of the College of Doctors in Aragua state, told reporters on Sept. 11 that a …

Our Astonishingly Incoherent Anti-ISIL Policy

So, notwithstanding the Obamaesque promises of 2008--and after--we are at war again in Iraq. And if that isn't enough, we are also at war in Syria. Here is the stated reason for our intervention: The U.S. launched eight airstrikes Monday night against a little-known, al-Qaida-affiliated militant group in Syria. The United States Central Command said Tuesday morning …

Something Interesting Is Happening in Hong Kong

Link: A wave of protest in Hong Kong that engulfed the city could continue into the week as thousands of residents defied a government call on Monday to abandon street blockades, students boycotted classes and the city’s influential bar association added its condemnation of a police crackdown on protesters. The public resistance underscored the difficulties …

More IRS Abuses to Keep You Up and Fretting at Night

Did you know that if you are involved in educating people about the Constitution, you might end up in the sights of the Internal Revenue Service? It's true. I am sure that the "be on the lookout" criteria that Nicholas Rosenkranz references are based on keywords and key phrases that are meant to indicate certain …

From the “Most Transparent Administration Ever” (A Continuing Series)

I presume that we would hear a lot more outraged commentary about this if a Republican were in the White House: White House press-pool reports are supposed to be the news media’s eyes and ears on the president, an independent chronicle of his public activities. They are written by reporters for other reporters, who incorporate them …

Good News and Bad News in the Fight Against Anti-Semitism

First, the good news: Over 600 academics thus far have signed a new letter opposing an academic boycott of Israel. The signatories include at least one Nobel Prize winner, law school deans, and leading scholars in several fields (that is just based on the some of the signatories I personally know; I have not looked …

How to Be Utterly Unreasonable (Corey Robin Edition)

Those who are closely tracking the Steven Salaita affair know that Corey Robin--who is a "political theorist" at Brooklyn College--has perhaps been Salaita's most ardent defender and champion. This article profiles Robin. Note the following: In the Salaita case, Todd Gitlin faults Mr. Robin for failing to engage with the substance of Mr. Salaita’s tweets, at least …