New Look for <em>TWN</em>

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Over the next few weeks, you will notice design changes to the website. The first has been added today, just before New Year’s. I realize that these changes may have some kinks to sort out, particularly given the fact that people view them through different browsers. Just send a note if you are having problems. More soon. Off to spend New Year’s in Philadelphia, must to the consternation of an earlier reader in the last post. Oakley the Weimaraner sends…

Happy New Year & Relief: Chrobog Family Released

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TWN hopes everyone is preparing for a safe and fun New Year’s Eve. I’m back in Washington and headed to Philadelphia for the next couple of days. I just learned that I’ll be going to Saudia Arabia on January 5th for a few days and any insights appreciated. The best news this morning is that the deal that fell apart last night between feuding Yemeni tribes and the Yemen government came back together, and the Chrobog family has been reportedly…

Chrobog Family Caught Between Two Yemeni Tribes

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I have received word this morning that two people, one whom I know, have had direct phone contact with Karim Chrobog, son of former German Foreign Ministry State Secretary Juergen Chrobog, who both along with three other family members have been kidnapped by Yemeni tribal clans. While Karim Chrobog told both people that he and his family are well, even though they are being held against their will, he hoped that they would be released soon. However, a dispute between…

Chrobog Family Kidnapped in Yemen: Note to Yemeni Tribesmen

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(photo of Juergen Chrobog, former State Secretary of the German Foreign Ministry) A loyal reader of The Washington Note and very good friend, Karim Chrobog, as well as four other members of his family were kidnapped in Yemen according to various news reports. Juergen Chrobog, Karim’s father and former State Secretary of the German Foreign Ministry as well as former German Ambassador to the United States, was invited to Yemen as the guest of the Yemeni Deputy Foreign Minister. He…

Lawrence Wilkerson Named Most Valuable Progressive by <em>The Nation</em>

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Last August, I ran into Katrina van den Heuvel, editor of The Nation, who remarked to me after reading both something on The Washington Note and after Ari Berman’s excellent article, “The Strategic Class,” that “realism had become the new liberal ideology.” Her views are echoed in an interesting rundown of “The Most Valuable Progressives of 2005” by John Nichols on The Nation‘s website today. Despite some naysayers who had a too little/too late attitude about former State Department Chief…

<em>Bolton Watch</em> to be Launched in Early 2006

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I don’t have much time to write about this now, but TWN — which was keenly focused on blocking John Bolton‘s confirmation as Ambassador to the United Nations — will be launching a “Bolton Watch” division of The Washington Note in early 2006. I have been keeping my powder dry on Bolton and decided some time ago to give Bolton time to prove his critics, and me, wrong about the fundamental reasons we opposed him. He started off politely on…

The Media’s “Political Correctness” Problem in Covering War and Conflict

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I am in Los Angeles this morning and was drawn to two op-eds that ran in today’s Los Angeles Times, one by Richard Haass of the Council on Foreign Relations and the other by journalist Robert Fisk, Middle East correspondent of Britain’s The Independent. I like Haass and often agree with him, but the “messy, barely a democracy” scenario he holds out as probably the best we can hope for in Iraq depends on U.S. forces being able to forestall…

Holtz-Eakin had the “Right Stuff” at CBO

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The Washington Note was the first to get out the news that Douglas Holtz-Eakin was leaving his post to accept a position at the Council on Foreign Relations. Today, a talk that he recently gave at the New America Foundation was highlighted by the New York Times editorial writers as being the sort of “straight talk” that has largely disappeared from government agencies — particularly from Republicans like Holtz-Eakin. The Times writes: As director of the Congressional Budget Office, Douglas…

Rice May be Succeeding Because She Doesn’t Have a Condi Rice Shutting Her Down

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Anne Gearan’s interesting piece on Condi Rice yesterday got me thinking about what structurally is enhancing or constraining the Secretary of State’s success. Gearan writes: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has become the most popular member of the Bush administration and a potential candidate to succeed her boss in the White House, even as Americans lose confidence in the president she serves and patience with the Iraq war she helped launch. Entering her second year as the country’s senior diplomat…