In no particular order:

 

30 Sept 2011 – Andrew Sullivan:  The Un-Bush

Last fall, the Dish hosted an impassioned debate about the morality and ethics and prudence of targeting US civilians who have joined the Jihadist enemy in seeking to attack the US. My own position is that we are at war, and that avowed enemies and traitors in active warfare against the US cannot suddenly invoke legal protections from a society they have decided to help destroy.

And so my response to the death of Anwar al Awlaki is obviously not going to be Glenn Greenwald’s, although I respect his consistency and integrity on this question, even though I think his position minimizes the stakes of the conflict, and misreads the nature of war.

My response is to note what the Obama administration seems leery of saying out loud – in line with its general response to al Qaeda which is to speak very softly while ruthlessly killing scores of mid-level and high-level operatives. This administration actually is what the Bush administration claimed to be: a relentless executor of the war in terror, armed with real intelligence and lethally accurate execution. Sure, Yemen’s al Qaeda is not the core al Qaeda of Pakistan/Afghanistan – it’s less global in scope and capacities. But to remove one important propaganda source of that movement has made all of us safer. And those Americans who have lived under one of Awlaki’s murderous fatwas can breathe more easily today.

 

29 Sep 2011 – Steve Benen:  On leadership

I remember taking a class on leadership and being surprised, as a naive grad student, how complicated it was. Leadership at a conceptual level seems straightforward and obvious — a person steps up, presents a vision, and encourages others to follow him or her. There is, however, far more to it than that, and there are even different models of leadership (transactional vs. transformational, for example).

But for the purposes of conversation, the notion that Barack Obama is a “bystander,” too overcome by “paralysis” to do “big things,” isn’t just wrong, it’s ridiculous. Indeed, as far as the right is concerned, the attack is itself in conflict with the conservative notion that Obama is destroying American civilization with his radical agenda. One can be a bystander and one can be a radical activist hell bent on gutting our cherished traditions from within — but one cannot be both.

And on a related note (Benen references this article in the above post)

 

28 Sep 2011 – John Dickerson: Leading Bystander

The leadership critique obscures the real questions that should be asked about the sitting president or the person who wishes to replace him. Simply being a leader doesn’t tell you much. George W. Bush used to say "a leader leads" as if simply taking action should absolve him of criticism. That didn’t get him off the hook any more than Obama should be off the hook now.

The questions should be about effective leadership. Does he pick the right fights? Does he have the skills to succeed, or at least mark up a qualified success? If his leadership has not been effective, is the president the only one to blame? America does have a divided government. The president is not king. Is it Obama or Republicans in Congress who deserves the greater share of the blame? Or, as Christie suggested in his speech, is it both?

29 Sep 2011 – Greg Sargent: Americans reject the right’s bogus `class warfare’ charge

It’s become an article of faith among conservatives — and even some neutral commentators — that Obama’a newly aggressive populism and call for tax hikes on the rich is “class warfare,” a nakedly partisan play for the Democratic base that is divisively pitting one group of Americans against another.

Obama’s new tack is “anti-millionaire populism” from a “self-proclaimed class warrior,” laments Charles Krauthammer. “Pitting one group of Americans against another is not leadership,” adds John Boehner.

Frightful stuff indeed. But two new polls suggest that the American public isn’t buying it.

Fox News is out with a new poll that seems designed to gauge the public’s attitude towards Obama’s new posture. For those making the “class warfare” argument, these results won’t be encouraging….

29 Sep 2011 – Andrew Sullivan again: Are Suspect Sketches Worthless?

Mostly. According to Lillian Marx, "victims who assist in creating a composite sketch of their assailants are nearly 50 percent less likely to correctly identify a suspect later":

quoting from the study, Sullivan includes this paragraph:

["T]he act of creating a composite sketch confuses the hell out of the victim. Your memory is actually very suggestible, thanks to a phenomenon called source amnesia, which basically means the brain remembers facts, but doesn’t remember where we learned them. That means if the artist gets something wrong in the sketch (the suspect’s nose is too big, or he has too many eyes), the victim literally starts to think that’s what the suspect looks like. The brain doesn’t remember if you first saw that feature in the real face or on the sketch. So the cops drag in a guy who looks like the inaccurate sketch and you say, "That’s him!"

 

And on a lighter note,

Andrew Sullivan:  So ‘90s

You have to see the video to get that one…

Advertisements