A Muppet In President Obama's Court

Reading Time: 2 minutes Sonia Sotomayor is not the only recent Obama appointment. She may be the most significant pick, but she is hardly the most intriguing. To wit, I direct your attention to a short Associated Press item, which appeared in papers including the New York Times, about some of President Obama’s recent ambassadorial appointments: President Obama has Read More

Jihad Leak Redux

Reading Time: 2 minutes Recently, I raised some questions about the impact of imprisonment at Guantánamo and how it affected those who were released. For example, I wrote: As for those who returned to jihad, one would like to know whether they were more motivated to do so as a result of their treatment at Guantánamo, or less. In Read More

Treasury’s Shadowy Bid to Bilk Taxpayers

Reading Time: 2 minutes The banks that received money under the Treasury’s Troubled Asset Relief Program also granted stock warrants so that taxpayers could capitalize on the risk of investing their money. Bloomberg reports that the Treasury is well on its way to screwing taxpayers on the deal: Banks negotiating to reclaim stock warrants they granted in return for Read More

Jihad Leak

Reading Time: 2 minutes A leaked Pentagon study claims one in seven Guantánamo detainees returned to jihad upon their release. A New York Times reporter says that the assertion could be used to argue against closing down Guantánamo. But…. -If the numbers are correct, that’s a pretty low recidivism rate. It could either argue for the effectiveness of incarceration Read More

NY Times Deals New Card

Reading Time: 2 minutes Anybody who still appreciates the arcane pleasure of reading an actual newsprint newspaper knows how important it is what makes it onto the front page. The New York Times’s prominent placement of a column by personal finance columnist Ron Lieber signals an important development: traditional news organizations’ increasing willingness to level with readers and not Read More

The Way of the Warrior: Media Coverage of Gen. McChrystal

Reading Time: 4 minutes On May 12, 2009, Defense Secretary Robert Gates selected Gen. Stanley McChrystal to head our “Af-Pak” military operations. Though the selection was widely praised, two unsettling issues have dogged McChrystal’s ascent to the top of the military hierarchy. First, he participated in the cover-up of Pat Tillman’s mysterious “friendly-fire” death in Afghanistan. Second, as reported Read More

Has the CIA lied to Congress?

Reading Time: < 1 minute Russ recently suggested that we need an investigation of the congressional briefing process. As we continue to follow the political fight between Congress and the CIA, let us not forget the story of Mary McCarthy. A senior CIA official, meeting with Senate staff in a secure room of the Capitol last June, promised repeatedly that Read More

Obama’s Appointee Scorecard: Look #2

Reading Time: 2 minutes The other day, I wrote about the need to study the qualifications of presidential appointees. I noted how Obama’s choice for head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, unlike Bush’s guy, Michael Brown, actually had decades of experience in precisely this area. However, before we start assuming that Obama only appoints people based on credentials, Read More

The Ponzi-Pulitzer Scheme

Reading Time: 2 minutes Earlier in May, the New York Times ran an intriguing piece about William McMasters, the Boston publicist who had helped unmask the con artist Charles Ponzi, after whom the term “Ponzi scheme” is named. One noteworthy passage, near the end of the article, notes McMasters’s frustration at his dealings with the Boston Post, the paper Read More