Oakley Dog Done with 2011

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Oakley the Amazing Weimaraner is done with 2011. Buddy and Annie still have a little left for the next few days. (Click image for larger version.) — Steve Clemons

Views: My Pic of the Day

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This is a photo I accidentally took with my new iPhone from inside a house on the Chester River on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Just struck me as beautiful and wanted to share. Click image above if you would like a larger version. Always interested in your pics as well. Happy New Year in advance! — Steve Clemons

Getting the Audit Right on Iraq

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Iraq surge architects Frederick and Kimberly Kagan have published an informed, provocative, yet thoughtful commentary, “Is Iraq Lost?“, in the latest Weekly Standard. The authors open with a blast at what they characterize as a self-congratulating Obama administration.  They write: With administration officials celebrating the “successful” withdrawal of American troops from Iraq, thanking antiwar groups for making that withdrawal possible, and proffering outrageous claims about Iraq’s “stability,” “sovereignty,” and the “demilitarization” of American foreign policy even as Iraq collapses, it…

Merry Christmas!

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Special thanks to Marian Tupy for this great photo, though I was there too. — Steve Clemons

Saudi Ambassador’s Holiday Greeting at Xmas

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Something for those who think Christianity and Islam are deeply divided, a holiday card greeting I received from Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir, Ambassador of Saudi Arabia to the United States: In the name of God, Most Compassionate Most Merciful, Behold, the angels said: “O Mary, God giveth thee glad tidings of a Word from Him: his name will be Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, held in honour in this world and hereafter and of  (the company of) those nearest…

Holiday Gift & Giving Ideas that Involve Matt Damon

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Inspired by The Atlantic‘s 2011 Holiday Gift Guide in which our food and culture senior editor Corby Kummer curated gift idea offerings from the great and the good, I have some ideas of my own. But to remind, Arianna Huffington wants an old-fashioned analogue alarm clock; former Blogger and Twitter CEO Evan Williams wants a Nest learning thermostat; Nora Ephron wants an extra freezer; former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle a kayak; British Ambassador to the US Nigel Sheinwald Bose…

Civil War Holiday Gifts

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I’ve been reading a copy of the The Atlantic‘s Special Commemorative Issue, The Civil War, which includes an introduction by President Barack Obama.  Most of the essays and photos curated for the issue were drawn from the pages of The Atlantic during and after the Civil War — and capture a wide swath of the mood and torment of the divided nation at that time. In the collection, Ralph Waldo Emerson offers a poem written in the fall of 1863,…

Gingrich Tells Same Sex Marriage Crowd to Vote for Obama

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In the clip above, GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich was queried in Oskaloosa, Iowa by Scott Arnold, an adjunct professor at William Penn University, about how he would engage the gay community that supports same sex marriage. The thrice-married Gingrich implies that he’ll take support from gay voters who care about other issues — like jobs and national security — first, but those wanting his support on gay marriage ought to vote Obama. Only problem is that President Obama isn’t…