Bruce Hoffman

In Memoriam: Stephen J. Cannell, 1941-2010

[amazon B000N2HD6O full]The name Stephen J. Cannell will likely only be familiar to readers of a certain vintage. Those who grew up watching television during the 1970s will remember Cannell as the writer and creator of such canonical prime-time television shows as The Rockford Files, The A-Team, The Commish and Riptide among others.

The New Amnesia

When it comes to terrorism, our memories are either too short or too long. Too short given that, in the absence of a recent attack, we try to convince ourselves that either it can’t or won’t happen again or that our response to the last one was perhaps exaggerated or excessive or even hyped by politics and emotion.

Where's the Beef?

In the two weeks since the report of the National Security Preparedness Group (NSPG) titled, Assessing the Terrorist Threat, was released by the Bipartisan Policy Center, attention has fastened on three paragraphs of its 42 pages.

The three paragraphs, found on page 16, state the following:

Thinking Outside the Box

I got my first job in Washington 35 years ago. If I have learned anything since then, it is that when someone here talks about the need to think “out of the box,” everyone usually runs as fast they can in the opposite direction.

Today's Highly Educated Terrorists

“The Idea Lab” page in last Sunday’s New York Times Magazine had an interesting article titled “Engineering Terror: Why are so many extremists from a single profession?” by David Berreby. It explained, much to the chagrin of the former president of the National Academy of Engineering, that “in the ranks of captured and confessed terrorists, engineers and engineering students are significantly overrepresented.”

Get the Facts, Then Make Up Your Mind

“Everyone is entitled to his own opinion,” the late, great Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan once observed, “but not his own facts.” Although this quote is at least a couple of decades old, Senator Moynihan could easily have been referring to the ubiquitous Newsweek and Washington Post pundit, Fareed Zakaria.

Another Slippery Slope in the War on Terrorism?

The incredible shrinking Washington Post continues to disappoint and surprise readers in equal measure.

Disappoint in that the once mighty front page and robust “Section A” (the main news section) have now been so filleted by financial cut back and retrenchment that a bare bones skeleton of its former grandeur remains.