April 6, 2008 [LINK / comment]

R.I.P. David Newsom

David Newsom, former undersecretary of state for political affairs in the Carter administration, died at the University of Virginia hospital on March 30. He was 90 years old. As the Washington Post obituary reported, he played a key role during the Iran hostage crisis, and in the Mariel boatlift from Cuba, both of which happened in 1980. That was an extremely difficult moment in U.S. diplomatic history, as the Soviet Red Army was occupying Afghanistan and America's global prestige plummeted. It must have been very stressful to serve in a high diplomatic position at that time. Newsom earned a reputation for being a very skillful problem solver. After retiring in 1981, he became director of Georgetown University's diplomatic studies program. In the 1990s he served for several years as the "ambassador in residence" in U.Va.'s Department of Government and Foreign Affairs.

I only talked to him a few times while I was in graduate school at U.Va., but I remember very well his advice to those of us who were preparing to take the Foreign Service oral exam: The State Department wants "no bullies and no wimps."

Superdelegate watch

As Hillary Clinton battles on against Barack Obama in spite of ever-increasing odds, the pressure builds on the elected officials and other Democratic honchos who will pick their party's nominee this summer. The new Uncommitted Superdelegates blog is a great way to monitor the situation on the Democratic side. Hat tip to X Curmudgeon.

Child labor humor?

The best satire is that which is almost believable. The idea that The Gap would sell a line of clothing made "For Kids By Kids" is not beyond the realm of possibility. Watch the video news clip from Onion News Network; hat tip to Stacey Morris.