Afghanistan, Year Nine

The Fortnightly Rant for July 2, 2010, from The New Hampshire Gazette, Volume 254, No. 20, posted on Saturday, January 15, 2011. Installing and removing generals from top U.S. commands is usually a process as formal and scripted as Kabuki theatre. Even when generals are being removed for poor performance, a dignified gloss is often applied. Last week’s replacement of General Stanley A. McChrystal seemed less like a piece of classical Japanese drama than an episode of “Jersey Shore.” The country hasn’t seen anything like it since 1951, when Harry fired Doug. War as Reality Show America’s news media used to think of themselves as …

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Dear Kittery: Welcome to New Hampshire

The Fortnightly Rant for June 18, 2010, from The New Hampshire Gazette, Volume 254, No. 19, posted on Saturday, January 15, 2011. Maine and New Hampshire — for seventy years the two states have been connected by two bridges: the older, smaller Memorial Bridge, and the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge. Each carries thousands of people a day over the turbulent Piscataqua River. In recent months though, it seems the bridges have been dividing the states. Recent developments suggest that the debate over the future of the bridges could soon become more turbulent than the Piscataqua. Fortunately, there is a simple solution. But before we get …

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Irrational Defense

The Fortnightly Rant for June 4, 2010, from The New Hampshire Gazette, Volume 254, No. 18, retroactively posted on Saturday, January 15, 2011. If there is a single notion dominating our national discourse these days, it is that our government is much too big. Republicans have been fervently making that argument since the Reagan ascendancy, only to find themselves out-shouted by the nascent Tea Partiers. Democrats, in their usual fashion, have offered partial, tepid rebuttals from time to time, while letting the core concept stand essentially unscathed. If, in fact, the government is much too big, then clearly the only rational response would be to …

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BP — Bad Players

The Fortnightly Rant for May 21, 2010, from The New Hampshire Gazette, Volume 254, No. 17, retroactively posted on Saturday, January 15, 2011. It has now been one full month since BP’s well began spewing crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Though that has not been enough time for BP to end this ongoing calamity, it’s been more than enough for the rest of us to learn more about BP and its friends. So far, none of it has been good. This past fortnight got off to a rather ironic start as the Associated Press reported that a “group of BP executives were on …

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Luncheon, Interrupted

The Fortnightly Rant for May 7, 2010, from The New Hampshire Gazette, Volume 254, No. 16, retroactively posted on Saturday, January 15, 2011. If things had gone as planned last Monday, the Federal officials in charge of regulating offshore oil drilling would have been handing out awards in Houston. Among the three contenders for the Minerals Management Service’s Safety Award for Excellence, which recognizes “outstanding safety and pollution prevention performance,” was the British oil giant BP. Due to a mishap, however, the Minerals Management Service (MMS), a bureau of the Department of the Interior, announced last Friday that it was postponing its annual Industry SAFE …

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The SEC Says “Tilt”

The Fortnightly Rant for April 23, 2010, from The New Hampshire Gazette, Volume 254, No. 15, retroactively posted on Saturday, January 15, 2011. Wall Street was shocked to discover last Friday that it is possible to conduct business in a manner so depraved that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will actually attempt to take punitive action. Goldman Sachs, an institution recently characterized by The New York Times as “the most powerful bank on Wall Street,” was charged with fraud for creating a collateralized debt obligation (CDO) called “Abacus” and selling $1 billion worth of it without disclosing to the purchasers that it had been …

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