Political Animal


March 02, 2013 9:38 AM Saturday Morning Reads

By Samuel Knight

*According to experts interviewed by The Hill, the White House isn’t as constrained in implementing the $85 billion in sequestration cuts as it claims to be. Although the law states the cuts must be applied to every government account equally, “budget experts say some nuances within the law do give the administration some room to maneuver, though they acknowledge it is limited.”

*The White House announced seventeen pardons yesterday, granting freedom to mostly minor offenders. According to the AP, the administration “offered no details on why these particular people were selected by Obama, who has issued relatively few pardons since taking office.” Twelve of the seventeen were on probation. The other five had received sentences that ranged from 54 days to five years.

*NATO forces admitted to accidentally fatally shooting two Afghan boys on Saturday. Claims that the killings resulted from a case of mistaken identity, however, will be of scant comfort to Afghan officials, who seem to be growing increasingly impatient with ISAF. A NATO airstrike last month prompted President Karzai to ban Afghan troops from calling in air support from coalition forces. And last weekend, Karzai ordered the expulsion of American special forces from the province of Wardak, after local officials alleged that they were “involved in the torture and disappearance of Afghan civilians.” The latest incident - admitted to this morning - appears to have been the fault of Australian soldiers, according to Reuters.

*A study commissioned by the Holocaust Museum in Washington has shown that the Nazis built more facilities to carry out their atrocities than previously thought. The New York Times reports that when the study began in 2000, one of the head researchers, Dr. Geoffrey Megargee “expected to find perhaps 7,000 Nazi camps and ghettos, based on postwar estimates. But the numbers kept climbing — first to 11,500, then 20,000, then 30,000, and now 42,500.” Slave labor camps made up almost three-quarters of that total number.

*Disgraced former New Yorker writer Jonah Lehrer, who resigned from the magazine last year after admitting to fabricated Bob Dylan quotes in his book Imagine: How Creativity Works, is under fire for again. Because of “concerns over inaccuracies,” publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt has decided to pull a second book of his, How We Decide. According to the Guardian, the publisher will continue to sell his first book, Proust Was a Neuroscientist.

Samuel Knight is a freelance journalist living in DC and a former intern at the Washington Monthly.


  • c u n d gulag on March 02, 2013 10:01 AM:

    Even though it seems really high, the number of slave labor facilities hardly surprises me, since my family members on both my mother's and father's sides were in quite a few of them, from Russia and Ukraine, all the way into Germany.
    The Germans took the laborers with them as they retreated. And pretty much every defensive position, had some slave laborers and refugees.

    My father's family ended up working on the V-2 rockets as slave laborers.
    My mother's family did a mite better, because my grandmother was half-German, so they ended up in better situations, which, were still pretty terrible, but a tiny bit better than the other slave laborers and refugees - and even they were certainly a whole hell of a lot better than the poor Jews.
    The Germans looked at it as, "Well, at least half of your blood is superior, even if the rest is sh*t! So, I guess we'll only work you half-to-death."

  • ceenik on March 02, 2013 11:11 AM:

    We know that Jews were rounded up at local levels,but this new number suggests that the bureaucracy was well-organized at an impressively micro level. It also suggests that the incarceration and enslavement of Jews was more visible: it must have created more jobs, made use of more local facilities, etc.