BRITISH AIRPLANE PLOT. Breaking news isn't the political blogosphere's strong suit, but suffice it to say we have noticed the plot to blow up airplanes that the British government says it foiled. I'm sure at some point more information will come out that I might have opinions on, but at the moment there's not much to work with. Jim Henleynotes that the never-made-sense "flypaper theory" of the Iraq War makes less sense than ever now.
TERRORISM TAKES BACK SEAT TO CRONYISM. With today's word of an apparently foiled plan for a massive, mid-air terrorism plot against airliners heading to the United States from Britain, I find myself trembling with fear at the fact that Michael Chertoff -- who proved his callous ineptitude during Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath -- is the guy charged with protecting you and me from the likes of al Qaeda. The only possible explanation for Chertoff's continuing tenure as secretary of Homeland Security is his ability to keep the contracts flowing to Bush pals (even those known to have soaked the taxpayers) and away from local economies.
JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: PATRON STATE.Josh Kurlantzickpoints to a player to watch in Cuba, looking forward: China. With Fidel Castro ailing and his brother Raul stepping up to take the reins of the Cuban regime, Beijing's influence in the country will likely grow.
WHAT CENTER?Jon Chaithas some issues with David Brooks� column advocating a McCain-Lieberman party of the center (Unity '08, anyone?) -- I have some problems of my own. Namely, on national security issues what's centrist about this party?
KEVIN'S LAW.Kevin Drumproposes a new principle of net-based discourse: "If you're forced to rely on random blog commenters to make a point about the prevalence of some form or another of disagreeable behavior, you've pretty much made exactly the opposite point."
THE CASE AGAINST THE DLC. Meanwhile, up in America's Dairyland, Senator Russ Feingold has pretty much had it. This is the best argument yet made against the DLC by someone not named David Sirota. (And certainly better than my perennial favorite, "Let's Get The Jaws Of Life And Pry Al From Out Of The Hospitality Suite.") More than anything else, the DLC created a generation of gun-shy Democrats, and that was fine, as long as we could be reasonably confident that the other side would not throw the entire United States government into the monkeyhouse.
HAWK REVISIONISM. It's pretty disappointing to see the genuinely estimable Thomas Edsalltrying to cram the Connecticut primary into a very clich� tale about how Democrats lose elections because primary electorates are "dominated by an upscale, socially (and culturally) liberal elite." For one thing, the image of Joe Lieberman as a scion of working class populism ill-fits his actual political profile. Indeed, as he himself took to emphasizing during the primary, he's generally loyal to all the key planks of the liberal interest group checklist, including, say, support for legal late-term abortions.
DEPOSITIONLAND. Just in case anyone has forgotten, there's still a president of the United States who answers only to the voices in his head. When he looks into a mirror, they tell him he's a king. Two stories in the last couple of weeks -- this one and this one -- evince not only the delusional view of Executive power held by the White House and its pet lawyers, but also a certain unease with what may happen this fall. It is possible -- how likely I will leave to the numbers-crunchers -- that one or both houses of Congress will fall into the hands of the Democrats.
It could mean less demand in the housing market. The Mortgage Bankers Association released the results of its weekly mortgage applications survey yesterday. While the weekly number for purchase mortgages was up slightly, the 4-week moving average was down and now stands more than 20 percent below its peaks last year. The refinance index is down by more than 50 percent. (The survey covers approximately 50 of mortgage originations.)
Remarkably, this important and timely data on the housing market appear to have been ignored in the NYT, WSJ, and Washington Post.