WHO RULES? A whole bunch of people died yesterday in Iraq. More surprising is the second paragraph of the AP rundown of the latest violence: "The attacks came a day after Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki sharply criticized a U.S.-Iraqi attack on Sadr City, the area of Baghdad that's the stronghold of radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and his Mahdi Army militia."
DEMOCRACY-PROMOTION.Spencer Ackermancalls the Bush "freedom agenda" a "fiasco." Michael Rubinhas his doubts, asking "isn�t it terrorism and militias, rather than democracy, which are the problems in Iraq, Gaza, and Lebanon?" He plugs this op-ed by Stephen Cook that urges us not to �Blame Democracy Promotion" and works through the typical sleight-of-hand of redefining "democracy" to mean something like "growing strength of pro-Western liberal politi
LIVE, FROM NEW HAVEN.Lieberman spokeswoman Marion Steinfels took a few minutes to answer some questions about last-minute campaign developments here in Connecticut. My paraphrased questions and her answers follow:
1. Did the latest poll [showing Lieberman down only 6 points, instead of the earlier 13-point deficit] give the Lieberman camp a lift?
A DEEPLY FOOLISH CONSISTENCY.Jon Chaitflags the core oddness of Robert Kagan�s view that changing your mind about something in light of events and new information is a form a dishonesty. The super-weird part, however, concerns Al Gore, who never favored the invasion of Iraq but stands condemned as a "one-time Clinton administration hawk" who "turned on all those with whom he once agreed about Iraq and about many other foreign policy questions."
New data from the Fed show that credit card debt rose at a 9.8 percent annual rate in June after increasing at an 11.0 percent rate in May. This extraordinary two-month rise is consistent with the story that homeowners are finding it increasingly difficult to borrow against their home � presumably because prices are no longer rising. If you need to borrow, and borrowing against the home is not an option, credit cards may be the next best alternative.
JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: TONGUE-TIED.Eric Rauchwaydelves into the early-20th-century history of immigration politics in the U.S. to help explain why liberals' efforts at discussing the issue have so often been fraught and unsuccessful.
WHAT ABOUT BOB? I had been hoping to do a short, humorous item for our print magazine this fall about how amidst all the "culture of corruption" hype this year, the two most flamboyantly corrupt pols of them all, Ohio's Bob Ney and Louisiana's William Jefferson, were actually both poised to win re-election assuming November rolled along before their indictments did. Tragically, as Steve Benendiscusses over at Midterm Madness, Ney has finally forfeited his race against time (and pending legal action), and is calling it quits.
FLAT-FOOTED JOE. The recent news that Joe Lieberman is abandoning some portions of his late-campaign field effort seems like a stunning, late-game admission of defeat. What it is, rather, is an admission that Lieberman got caught flat-footed by the Lamont insurgency much earlier than this week.
SOUTH ASIA: THE NEXT MIDDLE EAST? Given the turmoil in the Middle East, the mounting nuclear-tinged tensions in South Asia have been largely ignored in the United States, even after India and Pakistan each withdrew their diplomats from the other country last week, just two days after the House approved a nuclear assistance package for India. The technology transfer is being sold as a peaceful-use energy deal.
THE NEW MINIMUM WAGE CONSENSUS. Bloomberg's got a good article on the wide array of prominent economists coming around on the minimum wage. While the profession as a whole used to be basically unified in opposition, research emerging in the early '90s broke that consensus, and strong job growth after the Clinton increase further calmed their fears.