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    A Timeline of Islamic Expansion In The Dark Ages

    Let me put down here some facts that are worth returning to from time to time, as arguments over the history of Islam and Islamism are back in the news with today’s beheading in London. In debates over the history of tension between Muslims and Christians, the Crusades are often cited, out of their historical context, as the original cause of such clashes, as if | Read More »

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    Concert Review: The Killers at Madison Square Garden

    Checking off the top act remaining on my current “gotta see live” list, I went with my wife to see The Killers in concert at Madison Square Garden Tuesday night. While there were a few bumps in the road, on the whole the show was a reminder of why they are possibly the best rock band still in their prime today. The Setting I’ve previously | Read More »

    PPP on the Brown-Warren Senate Race: A Polling Post-Mortem

    PPP on the Brown-Warren Senate Race: A Polling Post-Mortem

    Polls are back in the news, with the release of four public polls and an internal Gabriel Gomez campaign poll in the June 25 Massachusetts special Senate election to replace John Kerry. 3 of the 4 public polls show Ed Markey with a distinct but still surmountable lead, an average of 6 points; the fourth shows him up by 17 and looks like an outlier, | Read More »

    Calling The Thing By Its Name

    Calling The Thing By Its Name

    Three hours after yesterday’s Boston Marathon Bombings, President Obama gave a short statement in which he pointedly declined to use the word “terrorism.” Shortly after his appearance, an unnamed White House official issued a written statement “Any event with multiple explosive devices — as this appears to be — is clearly an act of terror, and will be approached as an act of terror.” Defense | Read More »

    The Popup Presidency

    I went to the White House website this morning, whitehouse.gov, looking for a copy of the President’s statement on the Boston Marathon Bombings, and instead found the front page roadblocked by this popup ad: Now, the White House’s website is inevitably – and properly – going to reflect the president’s governing agenda. But it shouldn’t be necessary to explain why the White House deserves an | Read More »

    Terror in Boston

    Terror in Boston

    Early reports are often misleading, and there will be time enough for politics when the facts are in. But we know this much, so far: there were multiple explosions around the finish line of today’s Boston Marathon, there are a number of people dead and many horrible injuries, and authorities confirm there were multiple bombs. The Marathon is a huge target – a ton of | Read More »

    Same Sex Marriage Is Not the Same As Opposite Sex Marriage

    Same Sex Marriage Is Not the Same As Opposite Sex Marriage

    At the core of the two same-sex marriage cases argued this week before the Supreme Court is the fundamental question of whether the Constitution requires the state and federal governments to treat same-sex marriage exactly the same as traditional, opposite-sex marriage for all purposes for all time, or whether it is permissible to draw reasoned distinctions between the two, ranging from California’s simple reservation of | Read More »

    Christine Quinn and the NY City Council Punish The Creation of Jobs

    Christine Quinn and the NY City Council Punish The Creation of Jobs

    It would be hard to design a more obvious example of why New York City employers should be terrified of Christine Quinn’s Mayoral ambitions than the passage earlier this month of an unprecedented bill allowing lawsuits for damages by unemployed job-seekers against any employer that tries to hire in the City: When the law takes effect in three months, the city will be the fourth | Read More »

    Jane Mayer’s McCarthyist Attack on Ted Cruz

    Jane Mayer's McCarthyist Attack on Ted Cruz

    The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer, in a pair of blog posts, served up the latest attempted Democratic Party talking point on freshman Texas Senator Ted Cruz: that Senator Cruz is the second coming of Joe McCarthy. (ThinkProgress coordinates with a predictable illustration for those too simple-minded to get Mayer’s point). As it happens, I have some firsthand knowledge of the subject of Mayer’s vague, thinly-sourced | Read More »

    Reflections on the American Revolution: The Militia

    Reflections on the American Revolution: The Militia

    How did thirteen colonies, with a barely functioning central government and a thrown-together, underfunded and poorly supplied army of constantly fluctuating size and composition, win the Revolutionary War? One reason was the colonies’ ability to rely on their common citizens to supplement the Continental Army with local militia. I’ve looked previously at the demographic and physical conditions and foreign alliances that shaped the war and | Read More »

    Reflections on the American Revolution: The Generals

    Reflections on the American Revolution: The Generals

    How did America win its independence? In Part I of this essay, I looked at the population trends, foreign alliances, and equipment and weather conditions under which the American Revolution was fought. Let’s add some thoughts on the leaders of the principal combatants: the American and British generals. The American command was far from perfect – but the war could have turned out very differently | Read More »

    Reflections on the American Revolution (Part I of II)

    Reflections on the American Revolution (Part I of II)

    I’ve recently been reading a fair amount on the American Revolution, especially David McCullough’s 1776 (which should be required reading for every American).* The more you read of the Revolutionary War, the more there is to learn, especially about the vital question of how the colonists pulled off their victory over the vastly wealthier and more powerful Great Britain. The standard narrative of the American | Read More »

    Harry Reid’s Priorities: Immigration, Not Assault Weapons

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid gives some revealing insight into how he sees the Senate’s priorities this spring – priorities, in line with his support back home in Nevada, that are long on addressing immigration and not so high on banning “assault weapons”: Calling for a “cautious” approach to gun control, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid downplayed the chances of the Senate renewing an assault-weapons | Read More »

    More Cigarette Taxes Equals More Cigarette Smuggling

    More Cigarette Taxes Equals More Cigarette Smuggling

    A recent study from the Tax Foundation and the Mackinac Center for Public Policy looking at cigarette taxes and cigarette smuggling reminds us, yet again, of how big government always ends up legislating the Law of Unintended Consequences. Tax That Smoker Behind The Tree You have to tax something to fund government, and if you’re taxing sales, cigarettes are as good a target as any: | Read More »

    Silver Linings in the Fiscal Cliff Deal

    Silver Linings in the Fiscal Cliff Deal

    I will not try to convince any conservative that the final fiscal cliff deal that passed the Senate with only a few dissenting votes and needed Democratic votes to pass the House with a divided GOP caucus is a good deal, nor that it is the best deal available under the circumstances. It is, however, important to remember that this was a deal negotiated under | Read More »