The mind of a strategist

Announcing his plans to withdraw 10,000 troops from Afghanistan this year, President Obama declared, “We are starting this drawdown from a position of strength. Al Qaeda is under more pressure than at any time since 9/11.” Continue reading

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Obama’s risible dance with corporate America

President Obama’s new pick for his Council on Jobs and Competitiveness — Steve Case — is even more ridiculous, and less qualified, than his previous selection, the hapless Jeffrey Immelt, the inadvertent downsizer of GE. Continue reading

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Saying the unsayable, again

The “Dirty Harry of the poetry beat” continues his “blood sport.” Continue reading

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Refusing to play the sourcing charade

A New York Times story (February 9, 2011) on the internal debate at the Century Club over its ties to the all-male Garrick club in London shows how anonymous sources should be properly characterized: Continue reading

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A morally thrilling crime thriller

When violence erupts in Animal Kingdom, it literally explodes on screen. No stylish slow motion, no hipster grand guignol, just lethal brutality, swiftly administered with casual and sickening indifference. Continue reading

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Who won World War II?

In a Wall Street Journal review (February 3, 2011) of Between War and Peace, a collection of historical essays on “How America Ends Its Wars,” Richard Hart Sinnreich argues against the view “that military victory solves nothing”: Continue reading

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The sourcing charade (continued)

Some newspapers and media commentators belatedly addressed the shortcomings of anonymous sourcing several years ago. But the practice had been all too common for decades before then, and it continues today as if it had never been called into question. Continue reading

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‘Blogs are not important now’

Technological triumphalists beware: After hearing about the transformative power of blogging for the past 15 years, of social media for the past five years, and of WikiLeaks for the past year, we now have evidence of how easily the disruptive power of the Internet can itself be disrupted — by pulling the plug. Continue reading

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Immelt and Isiah

President Obama’s decision to appoint Jeffrey Immelt, the chairman and chief executive officer of GE, as chairman of the new Council on Jobs and Competitiveness will remind long-suffering Knicks fans of James Dolan’s choice, seven years ago, of Isiah Thomas as president of basketball operations and then coach of the hapless New York franchise. Continue reading

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The fate of philosophy: from Thales to texting

In Theaetetus (174A) Socrates tells the story of “the Thracian maidservant who exercised her wit at the expense of Thales, when he was looking up to study the stars and tumbled down a well. She scoffed at him for being so eager to know what was happening in the sky that he could not see what lay at his feet. Anyone who gives his life to philosophy is open to such mockery.” (F.M. Cornford translation) Continue reading

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