IF WE'VE LOST FAREED ZAKARIA ... Some slightly belated weekend thoughts on Iraq: As Kevin Drumnoted on Sunday, Fareed Zakaria of Newsweek (not to mention PostGlobal and his own TV show) has become a bellwether for establishment views on foreign policy. And now, he no longer thinks the U.S. can do enough good to merit our commitment to Iraq.
SYMPATHY FOR THE SCALIA. The New York Times is running a superb multi-part series about the increasing number of legal privileges and breaks being given to religious institutions, which has generated some attention and commentary.
TIME FOR ANOTHER LEFT-RIGHT ALLIANCE! Following up on the questions as to whether speech suppressed through perceived intimidation truly threatens free expression everywhere, I await the uproar over revelations that Abe Foxman and other prominent Jewish leaders "convinced" the Polish Embassy to cancel Tony Judt's talk on the Israel lobby for being "too controversial." The Embassy killed the event not on theoretical grounds, but in response to actual calls by prominent Jews, and it happened in New York, not Germany.
JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: TACTICAL RETREAT.Matt's happy to hear the news that the U.S. military may finally be getting serious about counterinsurgency doctrine. But he hopes this newfound commitment won't be taken by anybody -- not the military, not policymakers, not the public -- as the end-all and be-all of lessons learned from the Iraq debacle.
XYBERNAUT. To get the full scoop on the awesome tech company on whose board George Allen sat in the late nineties and whose stock options Allen repeatedly failed to disclose to Congress (according to a new AP investigation), definitely read Garance's piece from the September print issue of the Prospect.
GO WEST. On Sunday, the New York Times Magazine ran a piece by Mark Sundeen on the Democrats and their rising fortunes out West, with a focus on Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer. Good reading and, obviously, a trend which I agree is crucial to, and an indicator of, the Democrats� revival nationally.
HELP AMERICA BELIEVE IT CAN VOTE. E.J. Dionne has a good column today about H.R 515, Rep. Rush Holt's augmentation of the Help America Vote Act to ensure paper trails, create routine, random audits of two percent of precincts, and keep voting machines offline where they can't be remotely tampered with. The bill currently has 219 sponsors (which means, a majority of the House), a fair chunk of them dragging an "R" behind their names.
FOLEY THE SCAPEGOAT. So, if the GOP loses Congress next month, will it be because of Foleygate? Were the Republicans on the upswing and set to hold on to their majorities as of September 28, when the scandal broke? We're going to be hearing arguments along these lines preemptively for the next month and (depending on what actually happens on November 7) possibly for a long while after. In a must-read post over at Midterm Madness, Steve Benen takes a close look at the data and says, basically, it just ain't so. Be sure to take a look.
TOO MUCH INFORMATION. Data, questions, and commentary abound on the North Korean nuclear test. Most interesting to me is how the bomb performed. The inital Russian report indicated the detection of an explosion of 5-15 kilotons, a respectable weapon. Later reports from French, South Korean, and American sources indicate a much smaller blast, around .55 kilotons (a kiloton equals 1000 tons of TNT). If the latter reports are right, the explosion was either not nuclear or was a failure.
OUR TERRORIST. Be sure to read Peter Kornbluh's Nation article on the curious case of Luis Posada Carriles. Posada is suspected of blowing up a Cuban jetliner in 1976, killing 73 people. He has a history of anti-Castro violence, and worked for the CIA during the 1960s and 1970s. Posada has been in the United States for some time, yet the Bush administration has refused to turn him over to the Venezuelan government on the grounds that Venezuela might extradite him to Cuba, which could result in torture.