JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: HABITUAL BLINDNESS. Historian Eric Rauchway's new book, Blessed Among Nations, argues that globalization gave particular shape to America's development as a major power a century ago and thus helps account for the country's exceptional characteristics among developed nations. (Namely, a weak central government, a skimpy welfare state, a peculiar incompetence at imperial management and global stewardship, etc.) Today, Rauchway assesses the contemporary scene and detects a troubling recurrence of some old, bad habits.
ANOTHER TECHNICAL PSA. Did you know that you can get an attachment for your iPod that turns it into a recording device, allowing you to record your interviews or thoughts as MP3 files transferable to your computer? Or that there are a bunch of plug-ins for Skype that let you record your VoIP to landline calls as MP3 files, also suitable for playing back whenever you like? Neither did I, until recently.
NAMING POWER. I'm generally a pretty big fan of iconoclasm, but Matt's post on the renaming of Bombay to Mumbai brought me up short.
As noted by many who commented on Matt's Anglocentric approach, to the people of India, English is not simply another language; it is the language of the colonial power to which they were subject for hundreds of years. But more than that, it is the language of the people who botched the partition of the subcontinent -- a partition that resulted in the largest mass migration in history (more than 10.5 million) and an estimated 2 million deaths over a period of several weeks.
OUT OF ORDER.Here's some smart stuff on the burgeoning Israel-Lebanon war from Greg Djerejian. I have to say that I'm baffled as to why Israel is proceeding in this manner. I would have thought that between Hezbollah's attack on Israeli troops and Israel's decision to retaliate in such a large-scale manner, one would have seen an interim period of threats and diplomacy.
D.C., A CITY TOO SMALL FOR SECRETS. A friend points me to this item in the new LieberDem blog -- I guess Joe Lieberman's backers finally decided to fight fire with fire, launching the blog on July 6 -- by former Lieberman communications director Dan Gerstein:
Of all the absurdities about the misguided campaign to purge Joe Lieberman from the Democratic Party, the most striking of the moment is how many bloggers and activists from outside Connecticut authoratatively proclaim to know just what Democrats in the state believe.
HILLARY'S TURN. I can't be the only one discomfited by the news that Hillary Clinton is second only to the loathsome Rick Santorum on financial donations from the health services industry. The very same insurance and pharmaceutical companies Clinton once accused of "price gouging" and "unconscionable profiteering" have funneled more than $150,000 into her coffers -- funny how that works. As a whole, the health sector gave her just under $900,000 in 2005-06, no small sum.
OY VEY. I'm trying to restrain myself from further Lieberman-blogging, but after reading this in the Observer, I can't help but wonder if Rep. Anthony Weiner has ever actually read The New York Review of Books:
�We do have a problem with progressives and those in the blogosphere, because the Palestinian position seems to be perfect for the Internet world of pithy back-and-forth and 30-second You Tube tapes, where the Zionist position is more at home in a seven-page New York Review of Books article,� said Representative Anthony Weiner, a pro-Israel hawk who opposes the war in Iraq.
AM I AN ANTI-SEMITE? Possibly. I am, after all, quoted in a New York Observerarticle hinting that there's more to blogger opposition of Joe Lieberman than meets the eye -- namely, a deep seated revulsion towards Zionism (death to the infidels remix). Not to kvetch over this, but that's a meshugina interpretation of the primary.
WHAT LIEBERMAN APOLOGISTS DON'T GET. In his latest Postcolumn, as usual Harold Meyerson is spot on: Lieberman apologists are pushing one straw man after another about how Joe is being unfairly persecuted, when the truth is that he is a state and regional outlier. The most bothersome straw man is that Lieberman is held to some standard of partisan purity others are not.
The coverage of the debate over the recent budget numbers has been painful. The arguments on both sides have been far removed from reality. The media should have put in the effort to bring the issue back to earth.