Iran's announcement Monday that it had achieved the capacity to enrich uranium on an "industrial scale" raises the fear that the Islamic Republic could manufacture a nuclear weapon within a year, but was met with deep skepticism from nuclear experts. . . . [who] portrayed the claim as a political statement designed to bolster both its international and domestic stature, rather than an indication that Tehran has reached a significant new milestone in its nuclear program.
If [Attorney General Alberto] Gonzales was planning to simply tell the truth, he wouldn't "keep contradicting himself" in practice sessions and he wouldn't need to bring his schedule to a standstill in order to figure out what he's planning to say. He'd just review the appropriate documents to make sure he had his dates straight and then tell Congress what happened.
Obviously, though, that's not quite what he's planning to do, is it?
-- KEVIN DRUM
When Karl Rove and his top deputies arrived at the White House in 2001, the Republican National Committee provided them with laptop computers and other communication devices to be used alongside their government-issued equipment.
The back-channel e-mail and paging system, paid for and maintained by the RNC, was designed to avoid charges that had vexed the Clinton White House — that federal resources were being used inappropriately for political campaign purposes.
Now, that dual computer system is creating new embarrassment and legal headaches for the White House, the Republican Party and Rove’s once-vaunted White House operation.
Democrats say evidence suggests the RNC e-mail system was used for political and government policy matters in violation of federal record preservation and disclosure rules.
Nearly two months into the new security push in Baghdad, there has been some success in reducing the number of death squad victims found crumpled in the streets each day.
And while the overall death rates for all oF Iraq have not dropped significantly, largely because of devastating suicide bombings, a few parts of the capital have become calmer as some death squads have decided to lie low.
But there is little sign that the Baghdad push is accomplishing its main purpose: to create an island of stability in which Sunni Arabs, Shiite Arabs and Kurds can try to figure out how to run the country together. There has been no visible move toward compromise on the main dividing issues, like regional autonomy and more power sharing between Shiites and Sunnis.
For the first time, the U.S. military is treating more head injuries than chest or abdominal wounds, and it is ill-equipped to do so. According to a July 2005 estimate from Walter Reed Army Medical Center, two-thirds of all soldiers wounded in Iraq who don't immediately return to duty have traumatic brain injuries.
I presented my credentials from the Marine Corps to a very polite clerk for American Airlines. One of the two people to whom I talked asked a question and offered a frightening comment: "Have you been in any peace marches? We ban a lot of people from flying because of that." I explained that I had not so marched but had, in September, 2006, given a lecture at Princeton, televised and put on the Web, highly critical of George Bush for his many violations of the Constitution. "That'll do it," the man said.
Since Rudy Giuliani and John McCain continue to score well in the polls that match them against the major '08 Democratic players, how come Republicans don't seem to be jumping for joy? . . . Because they know that the prevailing national mood is working against them. And they know that these early polls generally don’t mean squat.
-- DICK POLMAN
I could care less what Romney's conception of God is, as long as it doesn't involve strapping on suicide vests or inducing hundreds of people to drink poisoned Kool-Aid. Mormons have lived and thrived in this nation for over a century, and except for a few lunatics who no longer belong to the main Mormon church and insist on polygamy and child marriage, cause no more problems than anyone else. We're not electing an American Pope, we're electing a President, and Romney's choice of religion is neither debilitating nor exotic.
When all four guests on the Chris Matthews Show agree on something, it is by definition CW--therefore the CW now holds that an immigration bill will pass and be signed into law this year, perhaps without many Republican votes.
-- MICKEY KAUS
I am somewhat overwhelmed by the absurdity of someone apologizing to Al Sharpton for making a bigoted remark, and then Sharpton not accepting the apology. Talk about glass houses! Imus should certainly have apologized for his remark, but not to someone with Sharpton's history.
[W]hy do the Tim Russerts and the Maureen Dowds of the world give [Imus] the time of day? I suspect it's to show they're in touch with the little people -- but they're just so out of touch they have no idea who the little people are any more.
-- WILL BUNCH
I caught the tail-end of that old England — that bumptious, arrogant, self-confident old England, the England of complicated games, snobbery, irony, repression, and stoicism, the England of suet puddings, drafty houses, coal smoke and bad teeth, the England of throat-catching poetry and gardens and tweeds, the England that civilized the whole world and gave an example of adult behavior — the English Gentleman — that was admired from Peking (I can testify) to Peru.
It's all gone now, "dead as mutton," as English people used to say. Now there is nothing there but a flock of whimpering Eloi, giggling over their gadgets, whining for their handouts, crying for their Mummies, playing at soldiering for reasons they can no longer understand, from lingering habit. Lower the corpse down slowly, shovel in the earth.
is dead. England-- JOHN DERBYSHIRE
Cartoon by Pat Oliphant/Universal Press Syndicate