TWO HATS.Elisabeth Bumiller's profile of White House Iraq aide Meghan O'Sullivan is another reminder that, though it's impolite and possibly politically counterproductive to say so, the man in charge of this country seems to be a bit dimwitted. His Iraq briefing memos are only three pages long and "written in the crisp, compelling style that the president prefers." O'Sullivan is praised for her ability to "distill a complex mass of developments into something more penetrable" and for being "succinct, unpretentious, full of facts and cheerful � exactly what Mr. Bush likes."
DAVID BROOKS MAKES MY DAY. AGAIN. Just one day before my book exhorting women to aspire to full humanity is due in the bookstores, my favorite conservative, David Brooks, came right out and said it in the op-ed pages of The New York Times. Forget being part of humanity, girls. Women are a different species. What makes humans human, above all things, is, of course, our brains.
"Experts" get away with saying almost any nonsense they like when it comes to talking about the stock market and the economy, but I think that we may have hit a new high today. A Times article today quotes Mark Cliffe, global head of financial markets research at ING Group in London, saying that the U.S. stock market has fallen 5-6 percent this year. The expert adds that if it falls another 5 percent, it could affect consumer spending and "â€˜Joe-Six' could start to cut back his stock portfolio."
OHMIGOD, SOMEONE HAS MIXED ME UP WITH JUDITH WARNER. I just read Garance�s post in response to my week�s writing and to Judith Warner�s dreaded reappearance on The Times website. Although Garance made the linkage, I don�t think this is her mistake -- because she has been following my writing since I published �Homeward Bound� in the Prospect last December.
A DISAPPOINTING RETURN. To the great consternation of many of my friends, I am a hockey fan. This comes from my father, who was a high school hockey coach whose team used to win the championship of Central Massachusetts every couple of seasons, thereby earning the right to go to the state tournament in Boston and get wasted by some squad made up primarily of players who would go on to join either a) the Boston College Eagles, or b) the Winter Hill mob. Or, occasionally, both.
PRC VERSUS DA VINCI CODE.Here's a fascinating tale. Some time ago, the Chinese government created something called the Catholic Patriotic Association, designed to run the Catholic Church in China. The Vatican, naturally, has long objected to that, insisting that the Catholic Church should run the Catholic Church in China. This medieval-style political controversy was bopping along in obscurity until the release of The Da Vinci Code in China, which both the Vatican and the CPA found objectionable.
MORE NAME THING. This is a bit late, but regarding the wide array of florid names deployed to describe our terrorist enemies, I did just want to note for the record that nobody is more impressive than Marshall Wittman in playing this game. The man puts in effort -- a term like "fascist Jihadism" is a natural for him but it's basically just too easy.
A QUESTION OF TEMPERAMENT. Reading Linda Hirshman's guest-blogging items over the past week, along with Judith Warner's latest New York Times (Select) column on the terrible anxiety and stress of throwing a last-day-of-class kindergarten party, have really made me wonder how much of the writing about women, work, and motherhood is a reflection of reality and how much of it is a reflection of the unique temperaments of certain women writers. For example, this, from Warner:
AND NOW FOR A SERIOUS POST.Pat Buchanan (and no, damnit, I'm not going to apologize) raises a series of under-considered questions in his column about the consequences of the aid cutoff to the Palestinian Authority in the wake of Hamas' election win.
THE ENEMY OF MY ENEMY IS MY ENEMY. Here's an important question for our friends on the other side of the aisle -- who to root for in Sunday's World Cup match between Mexico and Iran, the right's two most loathed countries?