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Showing posts from February, 2016

Why Michael Hayden Lacks Credibility on the CIA, Trump, and Torture

Color me skeptical: During his appearance on “Real Time,” Hayden cited Trump’s pledge to kill family members as being among his most troubling campaign statements.  “That never even occurred to you, right?” Maher asked.  “God, no!” Hayden replied. “Let me give you a punchline: If he were to order that once in government, the American armed forces would refuse to act.”  “That’s quite a statement, sir,” Maher said.  “You are required not to follow an unlawful order,” Hayden added. “That would be in violation of all the international laws of armed conflict.”Michael Hayden's actual track record:
…SIEGEL: Toward the end of your tenure at the Center Intelligence Agency, the question of interrogations became extremely controversial. You advised your successor – President Obama’s nominee, Leon Panetta – what to say about waterboarding. I want you to tell us what your guidance was.  HAYDEN: Yeah. I simply said do not use the word torture and CIA in the same sentence ever again. You can obj…

"Parents Have a Secondary Role": Beware This False Hillary Clinton Meme

A smart conservative friend posted this to Facebook today:


Only problem: Hillary Clinton has never said or written anything like this, as far as I can tell. What she DID say in "It Takes A Village" is this:


And this:

Yes, I purchased a $14 Kindle copy of "It Takes A Village" just to debunk this meme today. You're welcome.

On the KKK, Trump Borrows from the Republican Playbook

Let's first of all admit one thing: When it comes to David Duke and the Klan, Republicans have generally been pretty good about the repudiation thing. Republicans have long been very good about being against undeniably explicit, overt, no-doubt-about it racism.

Still, I can't help but hear about this:
CNN anchor Jake Tapper repeatedly asked Donald Trump on Sunday to denounce David Duke's support for his candidacy, but Trump insisted he didn't know anything about the former KKK grand wizard.  "Even if you don't know about their endorsement, there are these groups and individuals endorsing you. Would you just say unequivocally that you condemn them and you don't want their support?" he asked Trump.  But Trump again insisted again he didn't know about Duke: I have to look at the group. I mean, I don't know what group you're talking about. You wouldn't want me to condemn a group that I know nothing about. I have to look. If you would send…

Netflix Queue: "Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny"

Three thoughts about "Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny"...

• I've seen a few reviews calling this a "cheap knockoff" of the original. I don't think that's entirely fair. For one thing, you can only be a virgin once, and the first time we saw rooftop wire work in the first movie was an astounding revelation to many of us Western movie watchers. (There is however a great ice-fighting scene in this edition.) And no, this movie doesn't have the aching, epic artistry that Ang Lee brought to the original. Watched on its own terms, though, it's fun Friday night flick. In some ways, it feels more "Chinese" than the original, which was famed for marrying Western storytelling sensibilities to Chinese martial arts flicks.
• If you're going to connect this movie to another, the better comparison might be 1994's "Wing Chun," which starred by Michelle Yeoh and Donnie Yen — same as this movie — and even had the same…

On Trumpenfreude

One of the problems with today's era of hyperpolarization is the temptation to take pleasure when one's political rivals are running around in a tizzy — even when said tizziness is caused by something that will ultimately cause you and your side pain as well.
Take Donald Trump.

Max Boot and Bill Kristol, in particular are two conservatives who never found a war they couldn't excitedly cheer on. Kristol, in particular, is known for simply being wrong on every great question that's faced the United States for the last few decades.

And today, they're both tweeting up a storm, trying — vainly, I suspect — to rally Republicans against Trump. The panic is manifest:



And so on. And admittedly, in the pit of my stomach, my instinctive response is this:

Tee hee! This is the world you guys helped make! Now you have to live in it! Tee hee!

It's the wrong response. The world in which Trump is conceivably the GOP nominee is a world where Trump is conceivably the president — a…

RIP Harper Lee

Harper Lee, Author of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ Dies at 89 - The New York Times
At the same time, her stark morality tale of a righteous Southern lawyer who stands firm against racism and mob rule struck a chord with Americans, many of them becoming aware of the civil rights movement for the first time. The novel had its critics. “It’s interesting that all the folks that are buying it don’t know they’re reading a child’s book,” Flannery O’Connor wrote in a letter to friend shortly after the novel’s appearance. Some reviewers complained that the perceptions attributed to Scout were far too complex for a girl just starting grade school and dismissed Atticus as a kind of Southern Judge Hardy, dispensing moral bromides. All I'll say about To Kill a Mockingbird is this: It's a fairy tale.

That's not a criticism. Fairy tales instruct. Fairy tales inspire. Fairy tales have "the moral of the story."

When the book appeared, in 1960, America desperately needed the fairly ta…