Archive

  • ATLANTIC AGAINST THE...

    ATLANTIC AGAINST THE OIL ADDICTION. With all the recent chatter online about Jon Zobenica 's hilarious and insightful article on Playboy in the January/February issue of the Atlantic , it seems like the paradigm shift in that same magazine is being ignored. I'm referring, of course, to a pair of articles, by Ross Douthat and Clive Crook , that deal head-on with our country's unhealthy addiction to oil. (Douthat profiles a scientist working on technological innovations, while Crook advocates a gas tax.) Why is this important? Because both Douthat and Crook are fairly conservative, at least on economic regulatory matters (Douthat interned for National Review and Crook was an editor of The Economist .) When you've reached a point where even conservatives agree that our oil addiction must be cured and join in searching and advocating for solutions, it's a watershed moment. If every conservative with intellectual integrity recognizes the problem and is amenable to making the necessary...
  • MISSILES.

    MISSILES. In response to the assertion that Iran may be supplying surface-to-air missiles to Iraqi Shiite insurgents, David Hambling at Defense Tech has a good run down on the variety and capabilities of shoulder launched anti-aircraft weaponry. --Robert Farley
  • PINCUS and 1x2x6....

    PINCUS and 1x2x6. The Washington Post 's Walter Pincus took the stand as the first witness for the defense in the Libby trial, and he cleared up one of the longest-standing mysteries in the CIA leak investigation: the anonymous administration official who blew Plame 's cover to him on July 12, 2003 was then-White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer . Fleischer himself appeared to testify that, while he leaked Plame's CIA identity to two other reporters, David Gregory and John Dickerson (the latter denies it, intriguingly enough), he had no recollection of having leaked to Pincus. The defense will probably try to use Pincus' testimony to impeach Fleischer's, which was damning for Libby. In any case, now that there are three reporters to whom Fleischer has been tied as a leaker -- regardless of the fact that I am strongly inclined to believe Dickerson over Fleischer on their interaction -- we may be getting closer to understanding a far more central mystery of the leak investigation:...
  • CLINTON RULES. I...

    CLINTON RULES. I have, over the past few months, found myself in the increasingly uncomfortable position of being one of the few people who writes for a lefty blog willing to say anything nice about Hillary Clinton . This is not because I have any special affection for Clinton, whom I have never met or interviewed, but because the attacks on her are often so floridly off-base or flat out wrong that it offends my sense of fair play. Bumptious blogger Bob Somerby of The Daily Howler , who is unafraid to go after anyone, be they friend or foe, has recently taken up the burden of documenting, once again, just how pervasive the anti-Clinton media distortions are, even in the liberal blogosphere, and reminds us all of �the Clinton rules of journalism� : you can say any goddamn thing you want -- as long as you say it about the Clintons. And so this morning, it was with disappointment that I found M.J. Rosenberg falling prey to Clinton Rules over at TPMCafe.
  • PRISON RAPE. ...

    PRISON RAPE. I've written about this before . Here's a first-person account : When I first came to prison, I had no idea what to expect. Certainly none of this. I'm a tall white male, who unfortunately has a small amount of feminine characteristics. And very shy. These characteristics have got me raped so many times I have no more feelings physically. I have been raped by up to 5 black men and two white men at a time. I've had knifes at my head and throat. I had fought and been beat so hard that I didn't ever think I'd see straight again. One time when I refused to enter a cell, I was brutally attacked by staff and taken to segragation though I had only wanted to prevent the same and worse by not locking up with my cell mate. There is no supervision after lockdown. I was given a conduct report. I explained to the hearing officer what the issue was. He told me that off the record, He suggests I find a man I would/could willingly have sex with to prevent these things from happening. I'...
  • HAVE FAITH

    HAVE FAITH . What is the role of religion in the public life? Should government marry religion? And if so, which one? And what do voters think about, say, Barack Obama 's religion ? Atrios points out that though the current right-wing framing tries to distinguish the religious ("people of faith") from the nonreligious ("the dregs of society?"), the truth is that few religions agree on what to believe and that there is no such voting bloc as the "people of faith." It is largely conservative Christians and Jews who argue that religion should play a larger role in the public sector, the government, and the judiciary, and when they say "religion" they mean "my religion." They also appear to desire this influence without any reciprocal opening of those religions to nonbelievers' criticisms. Just consider the recent brouhaha started by William Donohue of the Catholic League on whether the Catholics are denigrated or oppressed by having their dogmas and customs and their wider influence...
  • BILL RITTER IS...

    BILL RITTER IS A DELICATE FLOWER. A disappointing start for Colorado's new governor, Bill Ritter , as he sides with business over labor in one of the first big bills of his term. What's odd, though, isn't that Ritter, mere days after business leaders fundraised their hearts out to retire his $250,000 in campaign debt, veoted the bill. It's his reasoning that rankles. "Ritter said he agreed with the sentiment of the bill but vetoed it because of the surrounding rhetoric 'sinking us into cynical politics.'" Got that? He agrees with the bill, but thinks the rhetoric surrounding it was too divisive. Glad he's got his priorities straight. --Ezra Klein
  • JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: NADER RECONSIDERED.

    JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: NADER RECONSIDERED. Discussing the new documentary An Unreasonable Man , our own Robert Kuttner offers two cheers for Ralph Nader . --The Editors
  • DYNAMISM! Nobel...

    DYNAMISM! Nobel Laureate Edmund Phelps has an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal today arguing that Europe's relatively lackluster economic performance over the past few decades is not the fault of the social welfare state, but of an economy and culture ill-suited to entrepreneurship and dynamism. Particularly weird are these poll results he found: The values that might impact dynamism are of special interest here. Relatively few in the Big Three report that they want jobs offering opportunities for achievement (42% in France and 54% in Italy, versus an average of 73% in Canada and the U.S.); chances for initiative in the job (38% in France and 47% in Italy, as against an average of 53% in Canada and the U.S.), and even interesting work (59% in France and Italy, versus an average of 71.5% in Canada and the U.K). Relatively few are keen on taking responsibility, or freedom (57% in Germany and 58% in France as against 61% in the U.S. and 65% in Canada), and relatively few...
  • WAYWARD DOWN SOUTH.

    WAYWARD DOWN SOUTH. Several Tapped commenters have asked me to respond to Bob Moser 's recent piece in The Nation , "The Way Down South." Logistics and schedules permitting, Bob and I will be debating his piece and related issues next month at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. I will also have a short, 700-word reply to Moser's article in a forthcoming issue of The Nation . In the meantime, you can listen to the radio debate Moser and I had last week on WNYC's Leonard Lopate Show. Moser is a good man with great intentions, but I'm not persuaded by his arguments that economic populism will make Democrats competitive again in the (white) South. The two main counterclaims I make in both my Nation reply and the radio debate are: (1) that racially-polarized voting among poorer whites limits the appeal of economic populism -- if that weren't true, white and blacks in Mississippi, the poorest state in the union, would already be voting quite similarly rather than as...

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