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Obama Creates Three New National Monuments in California

February 16, 2016 Being president involves a lot of stress, woe, and impossible-decision making. That’s why all of them, Barack Obama included, look a generation or two older when leaving office than they did when coming in. (For more on the theory of why being president is hard, check “Obama, Explained.”) Here’s the...

Donald Trump's Big Lie on the Iraq War

February 15, 2016 I respect and admire Donald Trump (yes, I wrote those words to begin a sentence) for flat-out arguing to GOP crowds that the Iraq war was a catastrophic mistake. It was additionally amazing and heartening to see him, in last night’s WWE-style brawl-debate, finally call B.S. on a persistent and...

The Right Way to Enforce Freedom of Navigation in the South China Sea

October 28, 2015 Last night I offered a brief reading list about the long-building naval showdown in the South China Sea, plus my own Twitter-scale guide to correct policy there. The latter is a derivative of “speak softly and carry a big stick.” In this case that means continuing to send U.S. naval...

How the Media Aids and Abets the Benghazi Committee

October 18, 2015 Hardly anyone still working in today’s media can remember an era in which “mainstream media” practices, as we now think of them, actually prevailed. By which I mean: a few dominant, sober-sided media outlets; a news cycle punctuated by evening network-news shows, morning (and sometimes afternoon) newspapers, weekend newsmaker talk...

Why Would an F-16 and a Cessna Be in the Same Part of the Sky?

July 7, 2015 Mid-air collisions are among the rarest and most horrific aviation perils. The most famous collision involving airliners in the United States, the crash of planes from United Airlines and TWA over the Grand Canyon nearly 60 years ago that killed everyone on board, led to dramatic changes in U.S. air-traffic...

How Air-Traffic Controllers Sound When They Have to Close the Airport

March 5, 2015 It's obviously good news that no one appears to have been hurt when a Delta Air Lines flight skidded off a runway this morning at LaGuardia airport. Here's an aspect of the whole process I find enlightening: Reader and aviation buff Ari Ofsevit sent a link to the LiveAtc.net recording...

Let Netanyahu Make His Case, Then Consider Why He's Wrong

February 2, 2015 Here is a look at a big controversy of the past week, and of the week to come. Namely, the plans developed by House Speaker John Boehner, Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for a Netanyahu speech before Congress on the need for further sanctions on Iran....

The Tragedy of the American Military

December 29, 2014 In mid-September, while President Obama was fending off complaints that he should have done more, done less, or done something different about the overlapping crises in Iraq and Syria, he traveled to Central Command headquarters, at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida. There he addressed some of the men and...

The Overseas Diplomatic Life is Not All Sips of Tea

December 19, 2014 Yesterday I did a brief compare-and-contrast on the U.S. decision to normalize relations with the People's Republic of China, under Presidents Nixon, Ford, and Carter in the 1970s, and Wednesday's announcement by President Obama that the U.S. will begin the process of normalizing relations with Cuba. The normalizations were similar...

Annals of the Security State, Presidential-Vacations Edition

September 2, 2014 I believe I am the only amateur pilot who’s a Democrat. Okay, I'm exaggerating. I can think of four others. No, five! Therefore when people in the aviation community talk about the effect of “Presidential TFRs”—the 30-mile-radius no-fly zones, known as Temporary Flight Restrictions, that travel with a president wherever...