Peter Collier

The Times Finds A Lone Crazed Assassin

2010 February 21

The New York Times’ front page profile today of professor Amy Bishop, who allegedly executed three University of Alabama Biology Department colleagues after being denied tenure, appears to be an exhaustively reported piece based on “numerous interviews with colleagues and others who knew her.” It portrays Bishop as violent and unpredictable, rejected by Harvard because of mediocre work and shunned by a series of neighbors and co-workers scared off by the suppressed rage that kept bubbling up to the surfaces of her social life, and also someone who may already have gotten away with the murder of her brother years earlier possibly because of her mother’s political connections in her home town of Braintree, Mass. read more…

The New Attack on Palin? Associate Her with John Edwards

2010 February 4

Today marks a new turn in the obsessive attacks on Sarah Palin: associating her with John Edwards.

In the New York Times Timothy Egan sees them as a pair of ethically similar “grifters” using populism to con the American voter–“playing to outrage while taking care of themselves.” In Egan’s view, both ginned up and profited from fears among a broad segment of the public who increasingly resent the success and power of the elites and feel that “America is passing them by.”

Edwards did this an arrant fashion by tearing the labels off his Armani suits and driving someone else’s clunker to rallies where he preached his blow-dried version of class warfare.  Now Palin is doing the same thing, Egan believes, by “charging Tea Partiers $100,000 to stoke their fears.”  (Yes, she has promised to plow her take back into “the cause,” but Egan assumes that she is a cynic whose only cause is herself.) read more…

Three Blind Mice: Zinn, Chomsky, Bin Laden

2010 February 1

Every so often we experience what Jung called synchronicity—the sudden perception of a possibly meaningful pattern in apparently unrelated events. I had one of these moments myself last week.

The first element was the passing of Howard Zinn.  I believe as much as the next guy that every man’s death diminishes me, but to be honest, in this case I was hard pressed to feel a sense of loss.  Matt Damon might regard him as Parkman’s equal, but in truth Zinn was a savage parody of a historian, one of those radical hacks whose every word subtracts from the sum total of human knowledge. read more…

Harry Reid Gets Dealt the Race Card

2010 January 10

Harry Reid is the shame of the Senate.  And it hard not to bathe in schadenfreude at the hammering he is now getting over an interview he gave to John Heilemann and Mark Haperin during 2008 for their new book Game Change in which he enthused that Barack Obama was electable because he was “light skinned” and “with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.”  But it is also hard not to be disgusted by the politically correct sanctimony of Republicans like the RNC’s Michael Steele who are acting as if they just caught the Nevada senator in a Klan costume.

“Negro” is the new n-word now?  And is it not true that Obama’s light skin color and the half-white background that produced it was indeed an electoral asset?  And didn’t the ability to talk like a brother as well as a Harvard grad sharpen the President’s ineffable hipness and post-racial appeal? Can the lexicon of the politically taboo have become such a fat book as this? read more…

Sullivan Suck Up Watch: Obama the Un-Bush?

2010 January 7

Yesterday, Andrew Sullivan served once more as low level public relations officer for the administration when he pretends to buy the White House spin that Obama has heroically spoken out about the underwear bomber in a way that shows how much he means business and marks him once again as the “un Bush.”

After seeing Janet Napolitano and Robert Gibbs shot down for proposing a craven first draft of the attempted Christmas bombing on Northwest Airlines as a reassuring example of how well “the system works,” the President, several days later, tried to get his groove back by admitting that there was “sufficient information to have uncovered this plot and potentially disrupt” it.  His more unbuttoned and manly real sentiments (know fear, Osama), strategically leaked to the mainstream press, were even more downright: read more…

Where Andrew Sullivan’s Head Is

2009 December 29

A brief addition to yesterday’s post on Andrew Sullivan’s current avocation as Barack Obama’s  pooper-scooper.  I noted that Sullivan had fecklessly praised the President’s admirable “reticence” in avoiding the serious condemnation of Iran’s mullahs for their murder of protestors in the streets.  By Sullivan’s twisted logic, Obama’s shameful silence had a golden lining: preventing Ahmadinejad’s thugocracy  from being able to dismiss these protests as provocations of the Great Satan.  I hope that Sullivan read the story in the New York Times today about Iran denunciation of the U.S. for having—guess what?—provoked the protests.  So we get the worst of both worlds after all—pusillanimous silence from our President and condemnation for being behind the demonstrations. Maybe if  Sullivan could manage to extract his head from the close study of Sarah Palin’s private parts for a minute  he’d see how deeply Obama’s “reticence”  on Iran dishonors us all.

Andrew Sullivan Unhinged

2009 December 27

Andrew Sullivan seems increasingly unhinged these days. The creepy, Torquemada-like obsession with Sarah Palin continues as he rummages through her book in a deranged act of explication de texte, functions as a one man birther movement laying out loony speculations about the owners of the canals out of which Trig and Tripp emerged, and continues to worship the sleazy dudeitude of Levi Johnson.

Meanwhile, Sullivan slavishly justifies Obama on every count, including his administration’s sneaky efforts to smuggle “progressives” into policy-making positions under the radar of Congressional scrutiny. Recently it was support for his appointment of Hannah Rosenthal as head of the Office to Monitor and Combat Anti Semitism. Because she seems to share some part of his own fanged venom for Israel, Sullivan sees her as a Promethean truth-teller being shut down by what his soul mate Pat Buchanan once called “the amen corner.” After my old friend Ron Radosh rightly criticized her for attacking Israel’s U.S. Ambassador Michael Oren as a result of critical remarks he made about the egregious organization J Street, Sullivan hit him as a “neo con likudnik.” But when Sullivan tuned in to his own esteemed Atlantic colleague Jeffrey Goldberg for an opinion, Goldberg instead confirmed Radosh’s position, indicating that he was absolutely baffled that Rosenthal should make someone like Oren the first target of what is supposed to be a campaign against anti Semitism. (Doesn’t she find a crusade worth undertaking in the way that the new addiction to Jew hatred has migrated from the Middle East to Europe and is presently getting established in our own country, where people like Sullivan can experiment with Walt-Mearshemerism as a no fault gateway drug?) read more…

Presumed Guilty

2009 November 15


On Fox News Sunday, Chris Wallace gave Jack Reed, Democratic Senator from Rhode Island, an opportunity to defend the decision to give KSM a civilian trial in New York. After enumerating the many injuries this could cause the country, Wallace asked Reed for one advantage Attorney General Holder’s decision might bring. Reed, well known as a talking head for the White House, said that such a trial will “stand as a symbol in the world of something different than what the terrorists represents.”

That this comment comes shortly after the President bowed deeply to the Japanese emperor (an obeisance even more groveling than the one he lied about having offered Saudi King Abdullah this past spring) is, as my former Marxist friends used to say, no accident. This administration is obsessed with American guilt–so ambivalent about our country’s intrinsic meaning that it feels it must invent a new symbolism to convince the rest of the world that we are a good and decent nation. Other countries may be on the fence about whether we’re all that different from the terrorists, the logic of Reed’s comment seemed to suggest, so we must have a show trial to convince them that we are. read more…

Afghanistan Trending Downward

2009 November 11

Is America wanting to give up in Afghanistan?

The Gallup Poll that Fox News has been featuring all day, and other networks have mentioned only sotto voce, has bad news for Barack Obama. Americans have reached a new low in their job optimism. Republicans are ahead in the generic ballot. The President’s own job approval is down.

None of this should surprise anyone who has watched this administration lumbering forward with what has become its signature combination of heavy handedness and incompetence. But one finding in the poll is particularly disturbing and not just for the White House. Only 35% of Americans now support Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s request for more troops in Afghanistan, while 44% want to reduce our troop strength there. In other words, the people of this country are beginning to bail on the mission. read more…

It Depends On What `Is' Is: Bill Clinton Jumps into the Obamacare Fiasco

2009 November 10

Picture 1

At Fort Hood this morning, Barack Obama honored  the 13 soldiers slaughtered last week. As part of his speech, he paid oblique deference to what the mainstream liberal press is trying mightily to make the dominant narrative of this tragedy when he called it “incomprehensible.”  A high falutin response would be to quote Einstein’s famous rejoinder to people who lazily hide from complex and possibly disturbing explanations: “The most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it’s comprehensible.” A more quotidian rejoinder would be to tell the President that the cat’s out of the bag on this one: the reasons for this mass murder—the presence of jihadism on American soil—are becoming more comprehensible not only with each passing day, but with each passing hour. read more…

The Darkness Inside Al Capone's Vault

2009 November 7


We expect moral imbecility from Keith Olbermann on issues such as the Fort Hood murders and last night he didn’t disappoint.  Enumerating the pressures Nidal Hassan must have felt, the Countdown host itemized especially Islamophobia (“They keyed his car!) and the brazen assault on the Major’s free speech rights (“And ripped off a bumper sticker!”)

But surprisingly, Olbermann was outdone a little later on  the Bill O’Reilly Show where Geraldo Rivera, whose mind often seems as empty as Al Capone’s vault, insisted that the defining characteristic of the murder spree was not the specifics of Hassan’s behavior—criticizing the American mission, finding brotherhood with Iraqi and Afghan fighters, handing out commemorative Korans just before leaving to rendezvous with his evil  destiny at the base, etc—but how similar he was to Jason Rodriguez, the Orlando shooter, and to other demented killers (even, under O’Reilly’s clumsy prodding, including Charlie Manson.)    read more…

The Spin Starts Here

2009 November 4

chris matthews

The Dems are spinning so hard today that the earth may be in danger of flying off its axis.  Some of the intellectual chaos they have generated was on display this afternoon on Chris Matthews’ “Hardball.”

Admittedly, being on the Matthews’ show is a challenge for guests, who have to struggle to get a word in edgewise as the hyperkinetic host asks questions and immediately answers them himself and generally acts less like an interviewer than someone on sodium pentatol. read more…

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