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Posted at 07:45 AM ET, 08/29/2011

Morning Bits

There are harpies, and then there is Maureen Dowd, aptly dissected here: “Just when Maureen Dowd’s wrath-fueled Dick-Cheney-obsessed heart seemed to have quit its verbal throbbing at last, up she rises again to snap and snarl at him like a vampire in the moonlight. . . . The op-ed page of the New York Times would be an embarrassment to real editors; luckily for Miss Dowd, there don’t appear to be any. She’s a little long in the fang to be thus tantruming in print, in any event.” Well, if they didn’t prevent Joe Nocera from calling Tea Partyers jihadists and Paul Krugman from blaming conservatives for the wounding of Gabrielle Giffords and killing of others, why should they mess with the grand dame of cattiness?

There is narcissism, and then there is Obama. “What makes President Obama’s executive passivity so interesting is that it seems to be a symptom not of policy uncertainty, but of personal narcissism. The president is free to delegate the tasks of the president because he’s already done the important job of simply showing up. It’s the same impulse that leads him to make all sorts of claims about the singularity of his tenure. For instance, at an Aug. 15 town hall event in Minnesota, he boasted that after his administration took control of General Motors and Chrysler, the two companies posted profits for the ‘first time in decades,’ even though both companies were profitable as recently as 2004.” Read the whole thing.

There are rogue states, and then there is Syria. “The U.S. and Israel are closely monitoring Syria’s suspected cache of weapons of mass destruction, fearing that terror groups could take advantage of the revolt against President Bashar al-Assad to obtain blistering agents, nerve gas and long-range missiles, according to officials from both countries.”

There is pedantic blather, and then there is Tom Friedman. “When the world is experiencing so many wrenching changes at once — with already high unemployment and weak economies — the need for America, the most important pillar of all, to be rock solid is greater than ever.” Who knew?

There are tough re-election cases to make, and then there is the Obama campaign. “The candidate who once dazzled audiences with his soaring rhetoric is still searching for a compelling sales pitch to persuade voters to give him more time to accomplish his goals. This week, the campaign offered supporters free bumper stickers that read simply ‘2012,’ with the campaign’s Web site address but no slogans.” Well, sometimes words do fail.

There is overkill, and then there is Alabama’s new immigration law. “[T] new law criminalizes ordinary transactions and even casual interactions with illegal immigrants, making it illegal to rent property, conduct any sort of business or enter into any kind of contract with undocumented residents. Landlords would be turned into immigration agents, forced to check identity papers — even though they lack the expertise to do so — or risk facing criminal charges. . . . Perhaps the most obnoxious provision of the law is its requirement that public schools confirm all students’ immigration status and report those who lack proper documents to school officials.”

There is anti-Semitism, and then there is Egypt. “Anti-Semitism is the common political language in Egypt. It is the one thing on which all the major political factions can agree — from secular ‘liberals’ to Islamists. While they’ll say the most awful things about each other behind closed doors, the one group these two will happily slander in public are Jews or Israelis. For instance, two months ago, at a conference in Budapest sponsored by the Tom Lantos Institute and the Center for Democratic Transition, the vice chairman of Egypt’s legendary (and ostensibly ‘liberal’) Wafd party declared that ‘the Holocaust is a lie’ and that Anne Frank’s diary is a forgery. Gas chambers and skinning them alive and all this?” Worth reading and re-reading in full.

By  |  07:45 AM ET, 08/29/2011

Categories:  Morning Bits

 
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