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Quoted in this edition:

Ace of Spades HQ
  Ann Althouse
  Ross Douthat
  Andrew Sullivan
  Steven Menashi
  Reihan Salam
Angry Bear
Associated Press
  Michael McDonough
  Mara D. Bellaby
  Leigh Strope
  Edith M. Lederer
Balloon Juice
  John Cole
Begging to Differ
  Kriston @BeggingToDiffer
  Gregory Djerejian
Belmont Club
Betsy's Page
  Betsy Newmark
Boston Globe
  James Carroll
  Joan Vennochi
Brad DeLong's Semi-Daily Journal
BrothersJudd Blog
  Orrin Judd
  Peter Burnet
Burnt Orange Report
  Nathan Nance
  Byron LaMasters
  Zach N
  Jeff Jarvis
Captain's Quarters
  Captain Ed
Chicago Sun Times
  Robert Novak
  Arthur Chrenkoff
CJR Campaign Desk Home
  Thomas Lang
The Claremont Institute
  Richard Reeb
The Corner
  Rod Dreher
  Ramesh Ponnuru
  Mark Krikorian
  Jonathan H. Adler
  Lambert @Corrente
  Elisabeth J. Beardsley
Crooked Timber
  Kieran Healy
Daily Kos
  Kos @DailyKos
  Damian Penny
Dallas Morning News
  Frederick Maryland
  Ed Driscoll
Electablog* U.S. Ambassador to Cyberspace
  David Allan Pell
Foreign Affairs
  John Lewis Gaddis
  John Gorenfeld
Happy Furry Puppy Story Time with Norbizness
Harry's Place
  Harry @HarrysPlace
Hit and Run
  Jesse Walker
  Julian Sanchez
  Nick Gillespie
Houston Chronicle
  Clay Robison
  Hugh Hewitt
INDC Journal
  Bill @INDCJournal
  Glenn Reynolds
  Phillip Carter
Ipse Dixit
  C. D. Harris
Israel news and commentary from IsraPundit
  Ted Belman
  Joanne Jacobs
  Tom Maguire
Kesher Talk
  Judith Weiss
Knight Ridder
  Frank Davies
L.A. Observed
  Kevin Roderick
Lean Left
  Kevin Raybould
The Left Coaster
  Steve Soto
  Larre @LeftCoaster
Lincoln Journal Star
  Don Walton
Little Green Footballs
  Charles Johnson
Los Angeles Times
  Richard A. Serrano
  Goodwin Liu
  Richard H. Sander
The Mahablog
  Barbara O'Brien
Mathew Gross
  Mathew Gross
Matthew Yglesias
  Matthew Yglesias
Michelle Malkin
  Michelle Malkin
The Moderate Voice
  Joe Gandelman
  Chris Bowers
National Review
  La Shawn Barber
New York Post
  Amir Taheri
  Ryan Sager
New York Times
  David Brooks
  Sam Dillon
  Lynne Cheney
  Landon Thomas Jr.
  Constance L. Hays
  William Safire
  Lily Koppel
  John Darnton
No More Mister Nice Blog
  Steve M.
Not Geniuses
  Joe Drymala
Obsidian Wings
  Edward _
Off the Kuff
  Charles Kuffner
Online Journalism Review
  Mark Glaser
Opinion Journal
  Kenneth L. Cain
Outside The Beltway
  James Joyner
Pacific Views
  Natasha @PacificViews
  Ezra Klein
  Jesse Taylor
  Pejman Yousefzadeh
The Peking Duck
  Richard TPD
Power Line
  Jay Rosen
  Greg Ransom
  Steve Bainbridge
Questions and Observations Blog
  Dale Franks
  Jon Henke
  Cori Dauber
The Right Coast
  Mike Rappaport
Right Wing News
  John Hawkins
Roger Ailes
  Roger Ailes
Roger L. Simon
  Roger L. Simon
  Eric Boehlert
  Perry de Havilland
  Gabriel Syme
Scott Rosenberg's Links & Comment
  Scott Rosenberg
Seattle Post-Intelligencer
  Chris McGann
Secular Blasphemy
  Jan Haugland
Seeing The Forest
  Dave Johnson
Shot In The Dark
  Mitch Berg
The Sideshow
  Avedon Carol
Signifying Nothing
  Robert Prather
Silent Running
  Wind Rider
  Jacob Weisberg
  Dana Stevens
South Knox Bubba
  SK Bubba
Suburban Guerrilla
  Susan Madrak
t a c i t u s
  Bird Dog
Taegan Goddard's Political Wire
  Taegan Goddard
Talking Points Memo
  Josh Marshall
  Jeralyn Merritt
  Sam Rosenfeld
  Garance Franke-Ruta
  Matthew Yglesias
Tech Central Station
  Douglas Kern
  George Jones
  Mark Steyn
  Radley Balko
This Modern World
  Tom Tomorrow
  Rich Lowry
USA Today
  Donald H. Rumsfeld
Wall Street Journal
  Jackie Calmes
  MB Williams
War and Piece
  Laura Rozen
The Washington Monthly
  Kevin Drum
Washington Post
  Howard Kurtz
  William Branigin
  Fareed Zakaria
  Terry M. Neal
  E. J. Dionne Jr.
  David Ignatius
  Charles Babington
  Christopher Muste
  Sebastian Mallaby
  Alan Cooperman
Washington Times
  James G. Lakely
  Michael Kirkland
  Charles Hurt
White House

Washington Post Co. Buying Web Magazine Slate
  By / WaPo   —   Permalink 
The Washington Post Co. said today it is buying Slate in an effort to boost the newspaper company's online traffic but does not plan any editorial changes at the eight-year-old Web magazine.
Joe Gandelman: Big Media Eats Internet: Washington Post Buys Slate — Slate has been sold to the Washington Post.
Kevin Roderick: Also on Romenesko: Microsoft sells to the Washington Post Co. No editorial changes are planned, the WP story says.
Orrin Judd: WIPED AGAIN: Washington Post Co.
Hugh Hewitt: Speaking of Dionne, Howard Kurtz reports that the Washington Post has bought Slate, which I think boils down to buying Kaus and some office furniture.
Jeff Jarvis: Santa Slate : Howard Kurtz just reported that The Washington Post has bought Slate. Here's Slate Editor Jacob Weisberg's announcement.
Scott Rosenberg: Congratulations and best of luck to everyone at Slate, which is being purchased from Microsoft by the Washington Post Co.
Also: Taegan Goddard, Kevin Drum, Glenn Reynolds, Ann Althouse

New F.B.I. Files Describe Abuse of Iraq Inmates
  NYT   —   Permalink 
WASHINGTON, Dec. 20 - F.B.I. memorandums portray abuse of prisoners by American military personnel in Iraq that included detainees' being beaten and choked and having lit cigarettes placed in their ears, according to newly released government documents.
Phillip Carter: More evidence of "coercive" interrogation comes to light — The big papers (N.Y. Times, Washington Post, L.A. Times, AP)...
Julian Sanchez: The LA Times and The New York Times both have lead stories today on the whole ugly, depressing business.
Joe Drymala: To hear the New York Times tell it, though, the origin of the pro-torture policy is a topic not even worth commenting on.
Kriston @BeggingToDiffer: HOW HIGH, HOW DEEP — Lit cigarettes placed in detainees' ears?
Kevin Raybould: Government Knew of Abuses in Gitmo — An FBI memo obtained as part of a Freedom of Information request contains reports...
Steve M.: (I recommend the New York Times story on the memos if you're still a bit confused as to what's been revealed.)
Also: Susan Madrak, Taegan Goddard, Tom Tomorrow, Jack Balkin

Attack on U.S. Base in Iraq Leaves 24 Dead
  By / AP   —   Permalink 
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - An explosion ripped through a mess tent at a military base near Mosul where hundreds of U.S. troops had just sat down to lunch Tuesday, and officials said more than 20 people were killed and at least 57 were wounded.
Pejman Yousefzadeh: ATTACK IN IRAQ — Stories like this one elicit all of the horrors that anyone in their right mind would feel.
MB Williams: Update: AP quotes Bill Nemitz: "Bill Nemitz, a columnist with the Portland Press Herald embedded with the Maine...
Mitch Berg: His post today, on the attack in Mosul that claimed 19 lives today, is an essential. Read it. Absorb it.
Jeralyn Merritt: 19 American Soldiers Killed Today 19 U.S. soldiers are among the 24 killed today in the deadliest attack on U.S. forces in Iraq to date.

Make No Mistake
  By / NYT   —   Permalink 
It was a series of unfortunate events.
How did we get to this sudden moment of cautious optimism in the Middle East? How did we get to this moment when Egypt is signing free trade agreements with Israel, when Hosni Mubarak is touring Arab nations and urging them to open relations with the Jewish state?
Matthew Yglesias: Brooks on Israel/Palestine — I'm not quite sure I grasp what's supposed to be going on here.
Gregory Djerejian: And Now...Some Good News...Kinda — David Brooks is finding his voice (didn't Safire tell him it would take a year or so?)
Damian Penny: . . .What is the relation between foreign affairs and corruption?" I hope he's right. Update: read this, too.
Bird Dog: Road Map Still There — David Brooks outlined a series of events deemed unfortunate by the diplomaterati, but which were really not.
Ted Belman: Make No Mistake — By DAVID BROOKS, NYT Op-Ed It was a series of unfortunate events.
John Cole: Read this snippet from Matt Yglesias: [snipped quote] It appears that to Matt, what is really important are peace talks-...
Also: Steven Menashi, PGL, Tom Maguire, Pejman Yousefzadeh, Betsy Newmark, Orrin Judd, Tully @Centerfield, Glenn Reynolds

  By / Slate   —   Permalink 
Today the Washington Post Co. announces that it is buying Slate from Microsoft Corporation, our home since we began publishing in 1996. When the transaction closes in mid-January, we will leave the splendiferous House of Gates for the munificent House of Graham.
Joe Gandelman: If you read Slate's official announcement it optimistically promises no massive changes, and goes on about how this...
Nathan Nance: Under new management — Guest post by Nate Nance It's official now, the Washington Post Company has purchased Slate, the online magazine.
Jeff Jarvis: Here's Slate Editor Jacob Weisberg's announcement. Howard just called to get react from the two-headed hydra I am as Media Man by day and Blog Boy by night.
Taegan Goddard: Editor Jacob Weisberg announces the sale: "When the transaction closes in mid-January, we will leave the splendiferous House of Gates for the munificent House of Graham."

Majority Favors Stocks Choice for Social Security
  By / WaPo   —   Permalink 
Most Americans support reforming Social Security so that contributions can be invested in the stock market, but many do not like having to raise the national debt by as much as $2 trillion to pay for the new system, and a solid majority would not put their own Social Security money into stocks, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
Nathan Nance: Private Accounts revisited — Guest post by Nate Nance There are some interesting findings in the WaPo/ABC News poll that came out today.
Steve M.: Washington Post And in related news, 53 percent of the public supported the concept of letting children run with...
Josh Marshall: In its coverage of its new poll, the Washington Post leads with the finding that a bare majority (53%) supports including a private accounts option with Social Security.

Full text: Blair's statement in Baghdad
  BBC   —   Permalink 
Below is the full text of a statement by UK Prime Minister Tony Blair on Tuesday's surprise visit to Baghdad, where he was greeted by his Iraqi counterpart Iyad Allawi.
The two leaders also took questions from reporters.
Click here for a transcript.
Harry @HarrysPlace: Now what a magnificent example of the human spirit - that's the side we should be on. Full Transcript here.
Orrin Judd: TO CERTAIN POOR SHEPHERDS: Full text: Blair's statement in Baghdad: statement by UK Prime Minister Tony Blair on...
Andrew: QUOTE OF THE DAY: [snipped quote] - Tony Blair, telling it like it is.
Dale Franks: The Future is Now — Prime Minister Tony Blair, during his visit to Baghdad today, just nails it: [snipped quote] That's it in a nutshell.
Hindrocket: Here is one question, along with Blair's eloquent response: "Q: Nick Robinson, ITV News: Can you just give us a sense of your feelings today?

Back by unpopular demand
  By / Salon   —   Permalink 
Republicans like to brag about the sweeping mandate that President Bush received on Election Day. But as he prepares for his second term, Bush approaches Inauguration Day with historically weak job-approval ratings, according to a series of new opinion polls.
Kos @DailyKos: Not even two months after the election, Bush is poised to be the most unpopular president at his inaugaration.
Jesse Taylor: Popumalarity — Eric Boehlert writes that Bush is ridiculously unpopular for a leader entering his second term, but to...
Mathew Gross: Ouch — Salon: "Republicans like to brag about the sweeping mandate that President Bush received on Election Day.
Atrios: Unpopular — Boehlert has an article about just how unpopular our preznit is.

Bush presses for reform on border policy
  By / Washington Times   —   Permalink 
President Bush said yesterday he wants to reform immigration policy so that the Border Patrol will be "chasing crooks and thieves and drug-runners and terrorists," and not the thousands who cross the border every day to find work.
John Hawkins: I gotta tell you, my jaw almost hit my chest when I read that Bush said, "We want our Border Patrol agents chasing, you...
Nick Gillespie: The Wash Times reports the prez saying: "It makes sense to allow the good-hearted people who are coming here to do jobs that Americans won't do a legal way to do so.
Greg Ransom: The post is a reaction to a Washington Time article on Bush's recent statements about immigration reform.
Dale Franks: More Political Grandstanding — Occasional QandO reader and big-time Big-Media journalist James Lakely reports in the...
Orrin Judd: STEEL-DRIVIN' MAN: Bush presses for reform on border policy (James G. Lakely, 12/21/04, THE WASHINGTON TIMES)...

Putin Makes Abrupt Reversal on Ukraine
  By / AP   —   Permalink 
KIEV, Ukraine - Russian President Vladimir Putin , who openly backed Viktor Yushchenko's rival for president of the Ukraine, said Tuesday he could work with an administration headed by the pro-Western candidate.
Captain Ed: Putin Smells The Coffee — After a full month of openly backing the handpicked successor to Ukrainian president Leonid...
Glenn Reynolds: UKRAINE UPDATE: At first I thought that this sounded like good news: [snipped quote] But then I read this: [snipped quote] Uh oh.
Roger L. Simon: Ukraine Update — Instapundit has the good news (Putin appears conciliatory toward Yushchenko) and the bad news (the KGB...

Pentagon officials: 22 killed in attack on U.S. base in Iraq
  CNN   —   Permalink 
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) — Multiple rounds hit a dining hall at a U.S. military base near Mosul on Tuesday, killing 22 people, including U.S. troops, members of the Iraqi national guard, and Iraqi civilians, Pentagon officials said.
Joe Gandelman: Big Attack On American Soft Target In Iraq — There has been a big attack on an American "soft target" in Iraq, and it...
Kos @DailyKos: Images — From CNN. The Richmond Times-Dispatch had a reporter and photographer at the scene.
Roger L. Simon: Despite what is already months of horrendous violence with more sure to come... These guys really hate elections, don't they?
James Joyner: 22 Killed in Attack on U.S. Base Near Mosul — Pentagon officials: 22 killed in attack on U.S. base in Iraq (CNN) [snipped quote] This is very worrisome.

ID cards passed despite abstentions
  By / Telegraph   —   Permalink 
Government plans for national identity cards were approved by the Commons last night despite more than a quarter of MPs not voting.
Although Conservative and Labour rebels failed to derail the Identity Cards Bill, they provoked a highly embarrassing mass abstention.
Perry de Havilland: It is now the law that ID cards will be imposed by force in Britain, with the support of the Leaders of the Conservative Party and the Labour Party.
Gabriel Syme: Samizdata quote of the year — This is depressing. Especially when I think that I survived communism without ever being fingerprinted... - Adriana Cronin

Unworthy of Honor: Khomeini's tribute is a disgrace
  Dallas Morning News   —   Permalink 
Most Americans remember the Ayatollah Khomeini. He was one of the great villains of the 20th century, who bequeathed his patrimony of fanaticism and hatred to the 21st.
Charles Johnson: Khomeini's Tribute is a Disgrace — The Dallas Morning News finally weighs in on the appalling display of support from...
Rod Dreher: KHOMEINIFEST A "DISGRACE" — The Dallas Morning News, on whose editorial page I labor, takes a strong stand in...

Bloggers, Citizen Media and Rather's Fall -- Little People Rise Up in 2004
  By / Online Journalism Review   —   Permalink 
There's something inherently fun about playing God. How else to explain the popularity of the third-person "God games" that have ruled the videogame charts? And when I got my two-year-old son the Little People farm scene and garage, he would play for hours, choosing the fates of those cute little plastic figures.
Wretchard: Mark Glaser observed that: "For way too long, it has been the mainstream media (MSM) that's played God with the American...
Jay Rosen: Greensboro Newspaper Goes Open Source: A Follow Up — "Why aren't more people who think citizen's media important...

U.S. Slips in Attracting the World's Best Students
  By / NYT   —   Permalink 
American universities, which for half a century have attracted the world's best and brightest students with little effort, are suddenly facing intense competition as higher education undergoes rapid globalization.
Wind Rider: Not that you'd have heard about this from any of the major news outlets...although there was quite a bit of coverage...
Joe Gandelman: America Is Less Of A Magnet Now For Foreign Students — American universities have long been a magnet for foreign students but now you might say they are being de-magnetized.
Kevin Drum: 9/11 AND FOREIGN STUDENTS...It's easy to get Chicken Little-ish about this kind of stuff, but these statistics about...

Tear Down the Cross
  By / Gadflyer   —   Permalink 
This wintry season, as the faithful continue to receive alarming reports from the news that Republicans are all that stand between them and the outlawing of Christmas itself by hordes of secular humanists, the two presidents Bush have endorsed a powerful...
Natasha @PacificViews: Sun Myung Moon to encourage African American pastors to take down the cross at their churches with the goal of spreading...
Jesse Walker: John Gorenfeld reports: [snipped quote] Surprise: the American Clergy Leadership Conference is an arm of the Moonies, the...
Atrios: Tear Down the Cross — Fascinating.

Cheerleading Coach Finds Prayer Not a Team Sport
  LAT   —   Permalink 
ATLANTA — A federal judge on Monday denied an appeal for reinstatement by a University of Georgia cheerleading coach accused of mingling religion with team activities.
The case has drawn attention to sports in Georgia, where coaches often lead players in prayer or worship.
Steve M.: You may have read today's L.A. Times story (also linked by Atrios) about Marilou Braswell, the University of Georgia...
Atrios: Bobo's World — Link: ATLANTA — A federal judge on Monday denied an appeal for reinstatement by a University of Georgia...
Kevin Raybould: The Seperation of Church and State — This is why we keep religion and government separate: [snipped quote] This girl was...

  By / New York Post   —   Permalink 
HERE we go again. With the start of the Iraqi cam paign season, doomsters are back with predictions of disaster for the newly liberated nation.
Some claim the election could be a prelude to civil war.
Roger L. Simon: Git Yer ... Amir Taheri has a superb round up of the major players in the coming Iraqi election this morning.
Hindrocket: UPDATE: In today's New York Post, Amir Taheri has an excellent description of the main contenders in the Iraqi election, with an optimistic assessment of the election's prospects.
Charles Johnson: Predicters of Doom Predicting Doom — Here's a good op-ed by Amir Taheri on the utterly predictable whining from the left that the Iraqi elections are doomed to fail.

Bush Criticized Over Social Security Plan
  By / AP   —   Permalink 
WASHINGTON - Critics of President Bush 's plan to create personal investment accounts in Social Security say he is exaggerating the program's funding problems to boost public support for his idea.
Thomas Lang: In the spirit of context, the Associated Press does something today that very few other outlets have done — printing both numbers in the same article.
Garance Franke-Ruta: Peter Orszag is. Here's his take: [snipped quote] This is what effective rhetoric looks like.

FBI Agents Allege Abuse of Detainees at Guantanamo Bay
  WaPo   —   Permalink 
Detainees at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, were shackled to the floor in fetal positions for more than 24 hours at a time, left without food and water, and allowed to defecate on themselves, an FBI agent who said he witnessed such abuse reported in a memo to supervisors, according to documents released yesterday.
Richard TPD: Torture is used by Americans at Guantanamo routinely, and most officials know it. And I'm sure we're using it just as liberally in Iraq.
Susan Madrak: The WashPo kinda pussies out, although they do name Wolfie: "The documents also make it clear that some personnel at...

Perry touts endorsements
  By / Houston Chronicle   —   Permalink 
AUSTIN - With an eye toward the Republican Party's right wing, Gov. Rick Perry's political committee announced Monday that several conservative leaders support his re-election in 2006.
Byron LaMasters: Check out the Houston Chronicle story for the list of conservative activists and abortion opponents.
Charles Kuffner: Perry endorsement update — Clay Robison follows up on his thin story from last week on Governor Perry's efforts to line...

FBI Agents Complained of Prisoner Abuse, Records Say
  By / LAT   —   Permalink 
WASHINGTON — FBI agents have lodged repeated complaints of physical and mental mistreatment of prisoners held in Iraq and Cuba, saying in reports that military officials have placed lighted cigarettes in detainees' ears and humiliated Arab captives by wrapping Israeli flags around them, according to new documents released Monday.
Susan Madrak: From the L.A. Times: "The FBI agents referred to what they described as a new executive order on prisoner treatment by President Bush.
Taegan Goddard: However, the Los Angeles Times notes the records released by the ACLU "did not include a copy of the Bush order, or make clear exactly when it was signed.

Glimmers Of Hope in The Arab World
  By / WaPo   —   Permalink 
Since Sept. 11, 2001, I've written a column once a year pointing out the good news, which is that Islamic extremism is losing. The movement, in all of its variations, has been unable to garner mass support in any Muslim country.
Orrin Judd: GLIMMER MAN: Glimmers Of Hope in The Arab World (Fareed Zakaria, December 21, 2004, Washington Post) "Since Sept. 11,...
Pejman Yousefzadeh: UPDATE: Also read Fareed Zakaria: "Since Sept. 11, 2001, I've written a column once a year pointing out the good news, which is that Islamic extremism is losing.
Damian Penny: Islamofascism is losing — Fareed Zakaria says the people of the Muslim world are rejecting Islamic extremism in favor...
Cori Dauber: A pessimist's optimism — Fareed Zarakia allows himself his annual walk on the wild side.

Dead Marine's kin plead for e-mail
  AP   —   Permalink 
WIXOM, Michigan (AP) — The family of a Marine killed in Iraq is pleading with Internet giant Yahoo! for access to his e-mail account, which the company says is off-limits under its privacy policy.
Jan Haugland: Killed marine's family wants access to his email — The family of Lance Cpl. Justin M. Ellsworth, a marine killed in...
Frederick Maryland: The Associated Press reports: "WIXOM, Michigan (AP) — The family of a Marine killed in Iraq is pleading with Internet...

GOP Corporate Donors Cash In on Smut
  By / WaPo   —   Permalink 
Since the election, the e-mails from readers have poured into my mailbox. The common theme from conservatives has been that Nov. 2 was a triumph of values — embodied by the GOP heartland over the heathens of the coastal elite.
Steve Soto: The Religious Right's Moral Values Voters Need To Look In The Mirror — Terry M. Neal of the Washington Post wrote a...
Dave Johnson: The Smut-Vendor Party — Terry Neal, in GOP Corporate Donors Cash In on Smut: [snipped quote] Rather than quote any more, I ask you to go read the whole, excellent article.

Tony Blair Pays Surprise Visit to Baghdad
  By / AP   —   Permalink 
BAGHDAD, Iraq - British Prime Minister Tony Blair threw his weight behind the drive to Iraq 's elections on Tuesday, making a surprise visit to Baghdad and describing violence here as a "battle between democracy and terror."
Steve Soto: Mosul Rocket Attack Kills At Least 19 American Soldiers - Single Package Bomb Blows Up Tent Halliburton Maybe Was...
Betsy Newmark: Showing once again that Tony Blair is a mensch.
Charles Johnson: Holy Warriors Launch Attack; Kos Blames Bush — The holy warriors managed a sneak attack on a military base near Mosul today, killing 24 people.

From fetus to baby
  By /   —   Permalink 
In a spectacular murder case in Missouri, Lisa Montgomery strangled to death Bobbie Jo Stinnett, who was eight months pregnant. Montgomery cut open Stinnett's womb and kidnapped her child.
Ross Douthat: A FETUS AMONG US: Rich Lowry's latest column, I think, offers the best round-up yet of the strange abortion-related...
Michelle Malkin: Here's a good column about the case by Rich Lowry examining language, life, and pro-abortion orthodoxy.

Peace on Earth?
  By / WaPo   —   Permalink 
When I encounter fellow Christians during these days of comfort and joy, I wish them a Merry Christmas. When I encounter Jewish friends, I wish them Happy Hanukah. And when I encounter people whose religious beliefs are unknown to me, I wish them Happy Holidays.
Sam Rosenfeld: I love E.J. Dionne's writing as much as anybody, but I wonder if he lends just a bit too much credibility to the...
Barbara O'Brien: Christmas Wars in the news ... E.J. Dionne: [quote] What in the world is "Christian" about insisting on saying "Merry...[end quote]

Hagel blasts civilian bosses in Pentagon
  By / Lincoln Journal Star   —   Permalink 
Deteriorating conditions in Iraq are a consequence of "the arrogance and incompetency of the civilian leadership at the Pentagon," Sen. Chuck Hagel said Monday.
Increasing violence and instability spring from "the accumulation of a series of bad judgments," the Nebraska Republican said.
David Allan Pell: Playing Buck Roulette — Chuck Hagel blames the nearly continuous string of bad consequences in Iraq on "the arrogance...
Taegan Goddard: But the Lincoln Journal Star notes Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) stepped up his criticism saying that deteriorating conditions...

A Revolutionary Christmas Story
  By / NYT   —   Permalink 
AS 1776 was drawing to a close, Elkanah Watson, a young man in Massachusetts, expressed what many Americans feared about their war for independence. "We looked upon the contest as near its close," he wrote, "and considered ourselves a vanquished people."
Betsy Newmark: Lynn Cheney pays tribute to Washington's 1776 daring trip across the Delaware to attack the Hessians at Trenton on Christmas night.
Orrin Judd: NOT SO VANQUISHED: A Revolutionary Christmas Story (LYNNE CHENEY, 12/21.

Accord Reached On D.C. Stadium
  WaPo   —   Permalink 
D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams and Council Chairman Linda W. Cropp said last night that they had reached agreement on a stadium financing package that would satisfy Major League Baseball by guaranteeing construction of a permanent home for the Washington Nationals along the Anacostia waterfront.
Michelle Malkin: THE MOTHER OF ALL STADIUM BOONDOGGLES, PT III — Looks like the fairweather fiscal conservatives on the Washington, D.C. council have caved.
James Joyner: Accord Reached On D.C. Stadium — Accord Reached On D.C. Stadium (WaPo) [snipped quote] This does appear to be a rather...

ACLU: President authorized interrogation
  By / Washington Times   —   Permalink 
Washington, DC, Dec. 20 (UPI) — An FBI document suggests the president authorized inhumane interrogation methods against Iraqi detainees, the American Civil Liberties Union said Monday.
The document is among those obtained from the government by the ACLU in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit in New York.
Lambert @Corrente: Abu Ghraib torture: Who let the dogs out? Merry Christmas from all those Godly men and women in the White House: .
Susan Madrak: Believe it or not, the only paper to put the presidential order into the lede is... the Washington Times: "Washington,...

Rumsfeld: Military is evolving
  By / USA Today   —   Permalink 
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has been under increasing criticism during the past few weeks, even from fellow conservatives and Republican lawmakers. USA TODAY offered Rumsfeld an opportunity to respond.
McQ: There's a reason for that, and that reason can be found in Rumsfeld's artcile in USA today: [snipped quote] Now some will write this off as boilerplate rhetoric.
Taegan Goddard: Rumsfeld Rebuts Criticism — Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld defends himself in USA Today: "In recent days, much...

Scapegoat in Chief
  By / WaPo   —   Permalink 
"I think Rumsfeld may be not too long for this world. . . . Let's dump him." The date was April 7, 1971; the speaker was President Richard M. Nixon. And despite Nixon's muttering about "the Rumsfeld problem" — which in this instance was that Rummy was too critical of the Vietnam War — the ambitious young White House aide kept his job.
Hindrocket: It today's Washington Post, David Ignatius expresses sympathy for Rumsfeld, even as he compares him with Robert...
Frederick Maryland: Rummy the Survivor — In his column in today's Washington Post, David Ignatius reminds us that Donald Rumsfeld is the...
Steven Menashi: WHAT RUMSFELD MEANS: David Ignatius seems to be missing something about the debate over Rumsfeld's future, calling him...

Gregoire urges Rossi: Let's accept result of hand recount
  By / Seattle Post-Intelligencer   —   Permalink 
OLYMPIA — When two tabulations of the governor's race showed that Republican Dino Rossi had won, he said Democrat Christine Gregoire should do what's best for the state and concede.
Chris Bowers: Washington Update — Gregoire is almost certain to win if all valid votes are counted: "King County will be the last of Washington's 39 counties to report.
Taegan Goddard: She's pledged to concede if Rossi prevails, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports.

The politics of the Christmas story
  By / Boston Globe   —   Permalink 
THE SINGLE most important fact about the birth of Jesus, as recounted in the Gospels, is one that receives almost no emphasis in the American festival of Christmas. The child who was born in Bethlehem represented a drastic political challenge to the imperial power of Rome.
Barbara O'Brien: In the Boston Globe, James Carroll makes a point I'd never thought of before: "THE SINGLE most important fact about the...
Orrin Judd: YET HE NEVER SCOURGED ANYONE OUT OF PILATE'S OFFICE...: The politics of the Christmas story (James Carroll, December 21,...

Two Opponents of Abortion Are Tapped for Senate Judiciary Panel
  By / WaPo   —   Permalink 
Senate Republican leaders yesterday appointed two of Congress's most outspoken antiabortion members to the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is bracing for potentially bruising hearings on nominations to the Supreme Court.
Richard Reeb: As two strongly pro-life Republicans are added to the Senate Judiciary Committee, scandalizing abortion defenders...
Captain Ed: How The GOP Made The Specter Issue Irrelevant — The GOP juggled commitee assignments today, shifting two strong...
Orrin Judd: A SPECTER IS HAUNTING ARLEN: Two Opponents of Abortion Are Tapped for Senate Judiciary Panel: Democrats Question Effect...
Ezra Klein: This One's For You, Arlen — Having successfully broken Arlen Specter's spirit, the GOP has appointed two watchdogs to...
James Joyner: Judiciary Committee Reshuffle — Two Opponents of Abortion Are Tapped for Senate Judiciary Panel (WaPo)
KJL: GEEZ, NANCY, CHILL, YOU'VE STILL GOT ARLEN — From Washington Post piece on Brownback and Coburn to the Judiciary...

Support for Iraq war slipping
  MSNBC   —   Permalink 
President Bush heads into his second term amid deep and growing public skepticism about the Iraq war, with a solid majority saying for the first time that the war was a mistake and most people believing that Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld should lose his job, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
Kos @DailyKos: Meanwhile, a majority of Americans now believe the Iraq War was a mistake (which should only worsen as news of the 22 dead in the Mosul attack makes the rounds).
Tbogg: Buyers remorse — Looks like Red Mandate America is having second thoughts about that November purchase: President Bush...

Wall St. Lobby Quietly Tackles Social Security
  By / NYT   —   Permalink 
As President Bush prepares to disclose the details of his plan to funnel hundreds of billions of dollars of future Social Security funds into privately held investment accounts, Wall Street has begun a muted lobbying campaign, chastened by bolder forays that failed in years past.
Natasha @PacificViews: Landon Thomas of the New York Times points up the Wall Street angle: "...There are signs, however, that the industry is...
Kevin Drum: Wall Street tycoons are being cagey about this, but the truth is that they can't wait to get their hands on your retirement money.
Steve M.: The point of this New York Times article is that Wall Street firms aren't fighting to get private accounts into the Social Security system — no, really, they aren't.
Tom Maguire: Wall Street Coy On Social Security Privatization — The Times tells us that Wall Street firms are being coy on Social Security privatization.

U.N. Report: Bethlehem Is Isolated Town
  By / AP   —   Permalink 
UNITED NATIONS - As Christmas approaches, Bethlehem is an isolated town with boarded up shops instead of a bustling cultural and spiritual center hosting tourists and pilgrims from around the world, a new U.N. report says.
Captain Ed: The UN released a typically biased report about the critical economic condition in the town of Bethlehem, whence our Christmas celebration springs.
Betsy Newmark: Captain Ed has a post on how the UN is blaming Israel for the fact that Bethlehem's economy is suffering.

Who can lead the Democrats?
  By / Boston Globe   —   Permalink 
ANYONE BUT Hillary. The political year ends with Democratic Party leaders searching for a new moral compass — and concluding, foolishly, that morality is only a focus group away. Blaming the November loss on issues like abortion, they want to be for and against it.
Orrin Judd: THE PARTY BILL CLINTON MADE: Who can lead the Democrats?
KJL: ANYBODY BUT HILLARY — Boston Globe columnist Joan Vennochi on the future of the Democratic party: "This year, the Democrats ran an anyone-but-Bush campaign.

9/11 Panel Members to Lobby for a Restructured Congress
  NYT   —   Permalink 
WASHINGTON, Dec. 20 - Fresh from their role in overhauling the nation's intelligence agencies, members of the independent Sept. 11 commission say they will now lobby to restructure Congress and what the commission described in its final report as the...
Captain Ed: Congressional Hypocrisy On 9/11 Reform — After holding the executive branch's feet to the fire to implement the 9/11...
KJL: "RESTRUCTURING CONGRESS" — Tom Kean & co. will be back in January.

  ABCNEWS   —   Permalink 
Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said Wolfowitz "did not approve interrogation techniques." Whitman added, "It is difficult to determine from the second-hand description whether the technique in this e-mail (impersonating the FBI) was permissible or not."
Kriston @BeggingToDiffer: Why should we expect that bad behavior was relegated to the Abu Ghraib bad apples when memos emerge revealing that Department of Defense interrogators impersonated FBI officials?
Gregory Djerejian: I report, you decide. But do read on a bit. Don't miss this report from ABC, for instance, that provides more detail.
Jon Henke: The Administration is denying everything... "The White House said no such directive existed and Justice Department and...
Laura Rozen: More from ABC News: [quote] FBI e-mails dating from December 2003 and January 2004 complained of "DOD (Department of Defense)...[end quote]

Say 'Merry Christmas' while you still can
  By / Telegraph   —   Permalink 
One December a few years back, I was in Santa Claus, Indiana, and went to the Post Office - a popular destination thanks to its seasonal postmark.
"Merry Christmas!" I said provocatively.
But Postmistress Sandy Colyon was ready for me.
Steve M.: Here are the opening sentences of Mark Steyn's latest column — the 6,738th right-wing article published this month...
Harry @HarrysPlace: Mark Steyn has a similar item in the Telegraph 'Say 'Merry Christmas' while you still can' but is more optimistic...
Ann Althouse: "Mark Steyn: "Say 'Merry Christmas' while you still can. "The San Francisco Chronicle: "Frighteningly retro as it sounds, the honest truth is I miss saying "Merry Christmas."
Jan Haugland: Bring on the Aussie lawsuits! PS: Mark Steyn has, unsurprisingly, a biting and fun take on Christmas and all that.
Peter Burnet: Say 'Merry Christmas' while you still can (Mark Steyn, The Telegraph, December 21st, 2004) [snipped quote] Similarly up...

Is Santa a Republican?
  By / TCS   —   Permalink 
A little over ten years ago, P.J. O'Rourke inadvertently dealt a savage blow to the morale of the Republican Party when he misidentified the political affiliation of Santa Claus in his best-selling book, Parliament of Whores. "Santa Claus," he told us, "is a Democrat."
James Joyner: Douglas Kern attempts to rebut P.J. O'Rourke's famous assertion in Parliament of Whores that Santa Claus is a Democrat.
Ed Driscoll: Douglas Kern and a person only identified as "Absolutely Not Kern's Hippie Brother-In-Law" weigh the merits. My take?
Ramesh Ponnuru: SANTA — Is he a Republican?

For Some Parents, It's Never Too Early for S.A.T. Prep
  By / NYT   —   Permalink 
Every so often, a toy that reflects a national obsession makes its way into the marketplace. Seventy years ago, toymakers rushed out with the Dionne quintuplets in doll form. In the early 1960's, with the nation at war, there was G.I. Joe.
Joanne Jacobs: Toying with parents — Parents are buying the Time Tracker to prepare their children for standardized tests, the New York Times says.
KJL: SAT PREP AT 4? Kinda sorta.

The Real Reason Kofi Annan Must Go
  By / Opinion Journal   —   Permalink 
A debate currently rages about whether Kofi Annan enjoys the moral authority to lead the United Nations because the Oil for Food scandal happened under his command. That debate is 10 years too late and addresses the wrong subject.
Bird Dog: Lethal Cowardice — Those were words used by self-proclaimed "liberal multilateralist" Kenneth L. Cain, explaining why...
Deacon: The liberal multilateralist case against Kofi Annan — Writing in the Opinion Journal, Kenneth Cain, who served in U.N...
Betsy Newmark: If you or your friends are still under the delustion that the United Nations is a force for world peace, read this column by a former UN peacekeeper.
Cori Dauber: Writing in today's OpinionJournal (and a former UN employee no less) Kenneth Cain focuses on precisely the two episodes that matter to me.
Porphyrogenitus: Why Kofi Must Go — Because of Bosnia and Rwanda, at least as much as the UN's Blood-for-Oil program.

Harsh interrogations in Iraq went beyond FBI standards, memo says
  By / Knight Ridder   —   Permalink 
WASHINGTON - Harsh interrogation methods of Iraqi prisoners went "beyond the bounds of standard FBI practice," the FBI's top official in Iraq said in a memo released Monday.
Mathew Gross: 'Tis of Thee ACLU: [snipped quote] The FBI released a memo in response: [snipped quote] Oh, that popular guy.
Joe Gandelman: MORE Problems for Donald Rumsfeld — Under-fire Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has weathered harsh criticism from...

Republican Governors Resist
  By / WSJ   —   Permalink 
WASHINGTON — In his first term, President Bush's domestic policy focused on creating winners, through tax cuts, a new prescription-drug-benefits plan for seniors, large farm subsidies, big homeland-security contracts and increased spending for education, scientific research and more.
Jesse Taylor: Life Is A Game Of Risk — Reading about the Bush team's efforts to cut the deficit reminds me of trying to do my calculus homework in high school.
Glenn Reynolds: BUSH GOT A LOT OF FLAK FOR THE DEFICIT: Now he'll get more for trying to cut it. In fact, it's already started.

Poll: Most Americans Think Iraq War Not Worth Fighting
  By / WaPo   —   Permalink 
Most Americans now believe the war with Iraq was not worth fighting and more than half want to fire embattled Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, the chief architect of that conflict, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll.
Cori Dauber: The fact that a majority now say the war "was a mistake" is the headline.
Norbizness: (2) Overtaken by events version: I think it's important to let the world know that we fully understand our obligations...
Ivolsky: From the diaries. See also the latst ABC poll on the subject, and the latest NBC and Q-polls on the subject.
Hindrocket: Their view that the war was a catastrophic blunder is now widely shared among the opinion elites, and maybe even among...
Joe Gandelman: Bush Enters The Political Danger Zone — This does not portend well for President George Bush's yet-to-start second term...
Steve Soto: The latest ABC News/Washington Post poll out tonight, of over a thousand adults taken through last night shows Bush's...
Also: Taegan Goddard, Mathew Gross

Grand Strategy in the Second Term
  By / Foreign Affairs   —   Permalink 
Summary: In his first four years, George W. Bush presided over the most sweeping redesign of U.S. strategy since the days of F.D.R. Over the next four, his basic direction should remain the same: restoring security in a more dangerous world.
Zach N: Some thoughts on foreign policy... In the most recent issue of Foreign Affairs Magazine, Yale professor John Lewis...
Orrin Judd: PARTISAN AND UNILATERAL, BUT EFFECTIVE: Grand Strategy in the Second Term (John Lewis Gaddis, January/February 2005,...

FBI Claims More Arab Prisoners Abused
  By / LAT   —   Permalink 
WASHINGTON — FBI agents are increasingly complaining about what they consider abusive physical and mental torture by military officials against prisoners held in Iraq and Cuba, including lighted cigarettes stuck in detainees' ears and Arab captives being humiliated with Israeli flags wrapped around them, according to new documents released today.
Laura Rozen: [quote]At one point, soldiers apparently were "beating him and grabbed his head and beat it into the cell floor," knocking him unconscious... [end quote] Link.
Kevin Drum: TORTURE UPDATE...Here's the latest on the torture of prisoners in Iraq and Cuba: "According to FBI officials, the Bush...

FBI E-Mail Refers to Presidential Order Authorizing Inhumane Interrogation Techniques
  ACLU   —   Permalink 
NEW YORK — A document released for the first time today by the American Civil Liberties Union suggests that President Bush issued an Executive Order authorizing the use of inhumane interrogation methods against detainees in Iraq.
Avedon Carol: Chris Bowers refers us to this from the ACLU: A document released for the first time today by the American Civil...
Jon Henke: The Abyss Gazes Back... When will enough be enough?
Larre @LeftCoaster: On the President's Authority — The American Civil Liberties Union today released documents obtained from the Government...
Kriston @BeggingToDiffer: Now the ACLU asserts that President Bush himself issued an Executive Order authorizing "inhumane interrogation techniques" in Iraq.
Joe Drymala: Ten Times — Torture: the military executed it, the FBI witnessed it, and George Bush authorized it.
Taegan Goddard: Documents obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union "suggest that President Bush issued an Executive Order...
Also: Steve M., Chris Bowers, Mathew Gross, Jesse Taylor, Jeralyn Merritt, Hilzoy @ObsidianWings, Susan Madrak, Matt Stoller, Tom Tomorrow, The Poor Man, Atrios

President Holds Press Conference
  White House   —   Permalink 
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning, and happy holidays to you all. I thought I'd come and answer some of your questions. Before I do so, I've got a statement I'd like to make.
We're nearing the end of a year where — of substantial progress at home and here — and abroad.
Norbizness: At this blistering pace, sometimes I feel like I just don't have the energy to keep up.
Sam Rosenfeld: We'll have to wait for the official transcript for verbatim quotes, but here are some highlights from my notes: Philosophical Bush.
SK Bubba: Open government — Bush at a press conference yesterday: [snipped quote] In other words, we don't have a clue what we're...
PGL: But he did explain WHY we needed to have Social Security deform: "There's more we must do to keep this economy flexible, innovative and competitive in the world.
Nathan Nance: Read the entire response and see if it reads as anything other than "f**k yourself for even asking" to you.
Lambert @Corrente: Plenty of fodder here, but He starts out, shockingly, by advancing the forces of evil, that is secularization and...
Also: Barbara O'Brien, Susan Madrak, Orrin Judd

A Misguided Challenge to Affirmative Action
  By / LAT   —   Permalink 
Sander is wrong: It helps blacks in law school.
Eighteen months ago, the Supreme Court found that affirmative action in law schools helps cultivate diverse leaders for a diverse society. Now, a new study by UCLA law professor and economist Richard H. Sander claims that the court was wrong on the facts.
Ross Douthat: This suggests, first of all, that liberals should stop racing to the barricades every time somebody hints that racial...
Reihan Salam: GOOD ONE, GOODWIN: Goodwin Liu, superstar, attempts to "debunk" Richard Sander's work on the effects of racial...
Mike Rappaport: The Case Against Affirmative Action — Rick Sanders writes: [snipped quote] For criticism of the op ed, see here.
Kevin Drum: For an alternate view, the Times has a rebuttal to Sander's article from Berkeley law professor Goodwin Liu here.)
Steve Bainbridge: The Times also published an opposing view, which to my mind fails to join issue with Sanders' central empirical findings.

The Blogosphere's Smaller Stars
  By / NRO   —   Permalink 
Things happen in real time on the web, and by now, "Rathergate" is rather old. But its early days marked a dramatic moment for bloggers, and a dark one for traditional journalism: one that Dan Rather will never forget.
Hugh Hewitt: La Shawn Barber has a great column in NationalReviewOnline, and a great blog at
Robert Prather: A little blogosphere triumphalism — The blogosphere's own LaShawn Barber has a column in NRO about the smaller corners...
Arthur Chrenkoff: La Shawn Barber has her first article on National Review Online, paying tribute to many smaller blogs which played their...
Michelle Malkin: And so do I. The bloggers and Internet discussion board members who exposed Rathergate—from Power Line, to LGF, to INDC...
Baldilocks: Krauthammer: Even a Jewish guy is defending the beleaguered Christmas. Barber (yes, that one! )
Charles Johnson: The Blogosphere's Smaller Stars — La Shawn Barber has a piece in the National Review, drawing well-deserved attention...
Also: Jesse Taylor, The Big Trunk, Betsy Newmark, Glenn Reynolds

Roth Plot II
  By / NYT   —   Permalink 
Washington — In "The Plot Against America," the novelist Philip Roth imagined what might have befallen this nation if the appeasing Charles A. Lindbergh had defeated the anti-Hitler F.D.R. in the 1940 election.
Here's my idea for the sequel:
Ezra Klein: One For The Road — Safire's latest column — one of his last — heroically points out that if the facts were different,...
Ross Douthat: I'm not sure which is weirder — that Maureen Dowd and William Safire both wrote alternate histories of the Iraq War...
Edward _: Dowd, playing off "It's a Wonderful Life" (as experienced by Rumsfeld seeing the world as it would have been if he never...
Tom Maguire: Back To The Past — Yesterday, Maureen Dowd tried her hand at alternative history; today, William Safire delivers a rebuttal piece.
Cori Dauber: Today William Safire comes right back, and while you could read his column and disagree, that is you could believe that...
Laura Rozen: It's always Munich 1938 for Safire; here he envisions an implausible nightmare scenario if Bush had not gone to war in...
Also: Betsy Newmark, Roger Ailes

Fast Chat: The Wonkette
  Newsweek   —   Permalink 
Dec. 27 / Jan. 3 issue - Ana Marie Cox started writing as the Wonkette in January '03, delivering a gossipy, satirical blog on D.C. politics. Now she's working on her first novel. She dished with Richard Wolffe.
What's the relationship between bloggers and mainstream journalists?
Hindrocket: Advantage: Time — While Time has us as Blog of the Year, Newsweek has a "fast chat" with Wonkette.
Charles Johnson: Wonkette Services the Debate — Courtesy of Newsweek, mainstream media's pet blogger Wonkette takes a cute little slap...
Bill @INDCJournal: Something to Brighten Your Day — This quote annoys me on many levels ... [snipped quote] ... namely the typically...
Tom Maguire: The Wonkette stands on the shoulders of giants and shakes what she's got, but since she is on-line, I guess it beats pole-dancing.

Trouble With Choices
  By / WaPo   —   Permalink 
The economics of Social Security privatization get plenty of attention: how to think about transition costs, the effect on national savings, the risk of equity investment.
Jesse Taylor: As Sebastian Mallaby writes today, there's a point at which there's simply too much risk even for a greater reward.
Garance Franke-Ruta: Meanwhile, the seeds of the best counter-argument to Bush's plan that I've heard thus far were scattered about Sebastian...
Orrin Judd: A 401k FOR DUMMIES: Trouble With Choices (Sebastian Mallaby, December 20, 2004, Washington Post) [snipped quote] Which is...
Avedon Carol: We keep being told that what we want is choice about schools and investments and medical plans and what-have-you, but...
Matthew Yglesias: Risky, Risky — This excellent column from Sebastian Mallaby is noteworthy for being by Sebastian Mallaby who's just the...

More Aggressive Congress Could Hinder Bush's Plans
  WaPo   —   Permalink 
President Bush's second-term plans to reshape Social Security, immigration laws and other domestic programs are facing a stiff challenge from a group that was reliably accommodating in the president's first four years: congressional Republicans.
Sam Rosenfeld: The president, strangely, seemed perhaps at his most passionate and animated when describing his guest-worker proposal...
Matthew Yglesias: I've just been reading The Washington Post's writeup of the new, more quarrelsome Republican Congress that Sam linked to...
Steve Soto: Now Firmly In Power, GOP Begins Overreach - Undermining Of Bush Second Term Agenda To Follow — Bush has now said that...
Ezra Klein: Sing The Second Term Blues — I've been having great fun keeping track of the Republican Party's inability to function,...

Frist draws the line on filibusters
  By / Chicago Sun Times   —   Permalink 
A scenario for an unspecified day in 2005: One of President Bush's judicial nominations is brought to the Senate floor. Majority Leader Bill Frist makes a point of order that only a simple majority is needed for confirmation.
Captain Ed: Novak Weighs In On Frist And The Nuclear Option — Robert Novak lined up behind Senate majority leader Bill Frist and...
Ace: Novak: Frist Gettin' Serious About Goin' Nuclear 'Bout time: "Ever since Frist publicly embraced the nuclear option, he...
Orrin Judd: IT'S EVEN A SENATE TRADITION: Frist draws the line on filibusters (ROBERT NOVAK, December 20, 2004, Chicago SUN-TIMES)...
Hugh Hewitt: Robert Novak points to Robert Byrd's precedents when it comes to Senator Bill Frist's "nuclear option" on judicial nominees.
James Joyner: Nuclear Option Has Precedent — Bob Novak argues that, not only is the so-called "nuclear option" sound policy but it's been done before: [snipped quote] Very interesting.
Jonathan H. Adler: FRIST & THE FILIBUSTER — Robert Novak's latest column reports Senator Frist is preserving all of his options.

Three Shelby officials leave Democratic Party for GOP
  By / Courier-Journal   —   Permalink 
SHELBYVILLE, Ky. — Three elected officials in the traditional Democratic stronghold of Shelby County defected yesterday to the Republican Party, the same day the local Democratic chairman resigned.
Captain Ed: Democratic Marginalization Picks Up Speed — The marginalization of the Democratic Party continued to pick up pace in...
Orrin Judd: PARTY OF OPPORTUNITY: Three Shelby officials leave Democratic Party for GOP: Officials join GOP, say values differed...
C. D. Harris: Reader Jack directs my attention to the fact that my state just became just a little bit redder: [snipped quote] Memo to...

Evangelicals Use Courts to Fight Restrictions on Christmas Tidings
  By / WaPo   —   Permalink 
Jonathan Morgan handed out candy canes with the story of Jesus to his fourth-grade classmates in Plano, Tex., on Friday. But it took a court order.
After years of legal assaults on municipal displays of Nativity scenes and Christmas observances in public schools, Christian groups are now mounting court challenges in the other direction.
Barbara O'Brien: In the meantime, those wishing to spread Christmas cheer in the public square are suddenly emboldened to use court orders to get it done."
Ed Driscoll: Fighting Back Against The Grinch — Betsy Newmark links to this Washington Post article on using the courts to fight...
Hugh Hewitt: You should also read this from today's Washington Post and this from today's Washington Times.
Frederick Maryland: One of the latest efforts by evangelicals in suburban Dallas to pitch religion to public school children was described...
RalphTaylor: According to the Washington Post, "After years of legal assaults on municipal displays of Nativity scenes and Christmas...
Betsy Newmark: Now Christians are fighting back in court to allow their religious symbols to be shown when public officials go all PC on them.

Porn foes lament Ashcroft record on prosecutions
  By / Washington Times   —   Permalink 
When Attorney General John Ashcroft was lampooned for shrouding the bare-breasted statue at the Department of Justice, many expected he would reverse the eight-year decline in obscenity prosecutions under former President Bill Clinton.
Jan Haugland: Anti-porn nuts disappointed with Ashcroft — Maybe John Ashcroft was not that bad after all.
Julian Sanchez: But some conservatives are nevertheless apparently distressed that John Ashcroft was soft on porn.
KJL: AG/BREAST COVERER JOHN ASHCROFT... ...ironically didn't spend a lot of time cracking down on porn, which has some groups complaining about the Bush record in this regard.
Jon Henke: Instapundit picks up on the Washington Times story about low/declining obscenity prosecutions under the Bush...
Glenn Reynolds: THIS KINDA MAKES ME FEEL SORRY for John Ashcroft: [snipped quote] That suggests to me that, in a time of war, he's got his priorities straight.

Nobel laureate compares Israeli nuclear arms to gas chambers
  AP   —   Permalink 
Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mairead Corrigan Maguire on Sunday compared Israel's alleged nuclear arsenal to Hitler's gas chambers and called on Israel to lift travel restrictions on nuclear whistle-blower Mordechai Vanunu.
Judith Weiss: Has there ever been a Nobel Peace Prize winner who wasn't willing to shill for Jew-haters? Just wondering.
Roger L. Simon: Senility or Insanity? You decide. (via Normblog, who has more patience to analyze this reactionary blather than I do)
Charles Johnson: Insane Comparison of the Day — Nobel laureate compares Israeli nuclear arms to gas chambers.

Moyers Says "Ciao" to Now
  By / Slate   —   Permalink 
The sad news of Bill Moyers' retirement from the PBS newsmagazine Now is all over the place today. (He will be ceding his anchor post to co-host David Brancaccio after tonight's episode, at 8:30 p.m. ET.)
Barbara O'Brien: Three Wise Persons — A little followup to the last post ... I just found this in Slate: "So it's official: The new...
Kieran Healy: Hark the Herald Tribune Sings — It's Christmas here at Crooked Timber, though this does not mean we are Republicans.
Steve M.: Of course, wearing Christianity on your sleeve is all the rage on the right this season, as Slate notes: The new...

  By / New York Post   —   Permalink 
POOR kids trapped in Niagara County's failing public schools are headed for an ambush — one being set, surprisingly enough, by the state Board of Regents.
On Thursday, the Regents considered an application to open a charter school just outside economically depressed Niagara Falls City.
Joanne Jacobs: Sager's New York Post columns one and two observe that 70 percent of minority students in Niagara Falls are failing to meet standards.
Orrin Judd: OPEC WITH APPLES: THE REGENTS' KANGAROO COURT (RYAN SAGER, December 20, 2004, NYPost) [snipped quote] You'll never...
Andrew Sullivan: Ryan Sager explains. SEPARATIONISTS?? The paranoia continues: [snipped quote] That's from Mary Eberstadt, National...

Today He Is a Dog; Actually, He Always Was
  By / NYT   —   Permalink 
In the long walk of history between man and dog, the bark mitzvah could be seen as an unexpected pit stop. Yet it was celebrated on Saturday night in the Bronx in a traditional way, with a party for family and friends of the 13-year-old that included a chopped-liver sculpture, choruses of "mazel tov!" (or, in this case, "muzzle tov!"), a cantor and gifts.
Radley Balko: "" That trend? The "Bark Mitzvah."
Mark Krikorian: COSMO, CALL YOUR OFFICE — Some readers thought I was too nonchalant a few weeks back about Adam Sandler's silly...
Steve Bainbridge: The Bark Mitzvah — I was all set to make fun of this story, but then I remembered that we Catholics have the annual...

Iraqi Bloggers, In the News And Critiquing It
  By / WaPo   —   Permalink 
Omar Fadhil says the media are painting far too dark a portrait of Iraq.
Outsiders "think there is fighting at every corner, people can't walk the streets, the economy is devastated and people are starving," he says. "No one is showing the good news coming from Iraq.
Roger Ailes: The're No Putz Like Howie For The Holidays — Nine days after this blog pointed out that Lani Guinier did not employ an...
Deacon: The Model minus one — Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post has a story about Omar and Mohammed Fadhil of Iraq the Model.
Jeff Jarvis: Omar and Mohammed meet Howie : Howard Kurtz interviews Iraqi bloggers Omar and Mohammed in the Washington Post today.
Hugh Hewitt: Howard Kurtz on Iraqi bloggers. Here's the Time article on Powerline.
Laura Rozen: Howard Kurtz has more on the blogging Iraqi brothers who met with President Bush earlier this month.
Betsy Newmark: Howard Kurtz profiles the brothers of Iraq the Model. They are, apparently, getting a lot of flack from people who see them as American propagandists.
Also: Glenn Reynolds

Text of President Bush's News Conference
  AP   —   Permalink 
A text of President Bush 's news conference on Monday, as transcribed by eMediaMillWorks, Inc.:
PRESIDENT BUSH: Thank you. Please be seated.
Good morning and happy holidays to you all. I thought I'd come and answer some of your questions.
Byron LaMasters: It affects you (via Atrios) points to President Bush's news conference today in which Bush begins with this greeting:...
DeLong: James Lileks Is the Latest Shrill Critic of George W. Bush Yahoo! News - Text of President Bush's News Conference Bush: "Yahoo!

President's Year-End Press Conference
  LAT   —   Permalink 
PRESIDENT BUSH: Thank you. Please be seated.
Good morning and happy holidays to you all.
Q And you.
Ann Althouse: Here are just a few assorted things that struck me about Bush's press conference yesterday. 1.
Joe Drymala: Don't Bother To Ask Me — From Bush's 17th press conference in four years, this is the President fielding a question on...

Revisiting Rwanda's Horrors With an Ex-National Security Adviser
  By / NYT   —   Permalink 
WASHINGTON, Dec. 14 - In a pivotal scene in "Hotel Rwanda," which opens Wednesday, the colonel in charge of a beleaguered United Nations peace-keeping force rushes to talk with the commanding officer of a fresh and heavily armed United Nations contingent that has just arrived at a hotel packed with refugees from the bloody genocide outside its walls.
Cori Dauber: For reasons so bizarre as to be beyond fathoming the New York Times decided it would be really nifty to take President...
Betsy Newmark: The New York Times watched the movie with Anthony Lake, Clinton's National Security Advisor at the time.
Tom Maguire: "Make More Noise" — Former National Security Adviser Anthony Lake agreed to watch a screening of "Hotel Rwanda" and...

House of Cards for Black Law Students
  By / LAT   —   Permalink 
His article on this subject is forthcoming in the Stanford Law Review.
Traditionally, critics of affirmative action have focused either on its unfairness to those groups that don't receive preferences (usually whites and Asians) or on the inherent conflict between racial preferences and the legal ideal of colorblindness.
Kevin Drum: AFFIRMATIVE ACTION...In the LA Times today, UCLA law professor Richard Sander summarizes his now-famous research...
Orrin Judd: THE OWNING OF THE HOUSE: House of Cards for Black Law Students (Richard H. Sander, December 20, 2004, LA Times)...

Investigators Consider Race as Possible Motive in Maryland Arson
  AP   —   Permalink 
INDIAN HEAD, Md., Dec. 19 (AP) - Racial animosity and revenge are among the possible motives in the arson fires in a subdivision in southern Maryland on Dec. 6, a spokesman for federal investigators said Sunday.
Tom Tomorrow: Alicublog updates us: [snipped quote] On a related note, conservatarians also got the "ecoterrorist" story completely wrong.
Mathew Gross: Oops — Atrios points out that the early suspicions of eco-terrorism, which are trotted out whenever an expensive...
Atrios: So much for eco-terrorists: INDIAN HEAD, Md., Dec. 19 (AP) - Racial animosity and revenge are among the possible motives...