Archive

  • AHMADINEJAD JOINS STUDENTS FOR ACADEMIC FREEDOM.

    AHMADINEJAD JOINS STUDENTS FOR ACADEMIC FREEDOM. What do Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and David Horowitz have in common? Hint: It's not their views on Israel. Give up? They both want to fire liberal, secularist professors perverting the fragile minds of college students. According to AP: Iran's hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called Tuesday for a purge of liberal and secular teachers from the country's universities, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported in another step back to 1980s-style radicalism. Well, at least Iran is finally catching up to us in something besides nuclear technology. --Ben Adler
  • OH YEAH? ...

    OH YEAH? YOU AND WHAT ECONOMY? Because TAP loves you and wants you to be rich, we're hosting an argument between eminent economists Larry Mishel and Steve Rose over whether the economy is eleven types of awful or seven styles of awesome (all numbers gleaned through counting bullet points). Mishel is arguing that the economy is getting worse, while Rose is declaring that, for the median American, it's still pretty good. Rose thinks Democrats need to focus more on the relatively prosperous middle class; Mishel thinks the economy requires fundamental reform to curb inequality and encourage broad growth. Well, I'd need to see Mishel's solutions to evaluate his argument; as of now, it's little more than a snapshot of economic trends. Rose, however, offers a more interesting challenge as well as, I think, a fundamental error. He's firmly planted in the DLC tradition that accuses Democrats of forsaking the middle class to focus on the poor. And his case, to be sure, is strong. But his...
  • LINCOLN DEMOCRATS.

    LINCOLN DEMOCRATS. E.J. Dionne �s column today on how the �North will rise again� on the strength of nascent �Lincoln Democrats� is a recognition (finally) of what a lot of us have been saying for months: that the Democratic revival is going to come in the quadrant of states formed by linking Dover (NH), Dover (DE), Des Moines and Duluth. If Lincoln is too antiquated, �Rockefeller Democrats� might be a better, or least more current, moniker. Whatever the labels, this �Northeast strategy� (or, more precisely, the �Northeast-Midwest� strategy) is the key to building Democratic majorities in the Congress, and turning the purple portion of the Midwest to blue would be sufficient to put a Democrat back in the White House. And if one wishes to broaden the focus fully, throw in the interior West for good measure. In January 2001, there was not a single Democratic governor in any of these eight states. Today there are four, three of whom -- Arizona�s Janet Napolitano , New Mexico�s Bill...
  • PLAME REVEALED. ...

    PLAME REVEALED. According to David Corn and Michael Isikoff , Valerie Plame was neither a paper-pusher nor a lowly overseas agent at the time of her outing. Instead, she was the operations director for the clandestine Joint Task Force on Iraq, meaning she was in charge of the efforts to flip Iraqi scientists and gather information on Hussein 's weapon programs. Over and over, the JTFI would turn a higher-up, only to run into denials of any WMD project whatsoever. The few Iraqis who came forward with evidence to the contrary were found to be fabulists or embellishers, some of whom were sent by Ahmed Chalabi 's organization. The JTFI was right, but it had trouble believing its results. Nevertheless, as the war started, their results showed no WMDs and nothing but discredited informants. Valerie Plame and her underlings had gotten it exactly right. A few months later, she was outed, effectively ending her career at the CIA. What bitter irony: She was one of the few officials involved in...
  • THE SPECTRUM OF...

    THE SPECTRUM OF PUBLIC OPINION. It is often said, correctly, that the spectrum of acceptable public opinion about Israel's actions is much broader in Israel than in mainstream U.S. publications. This Ha'aretz op-ed by Gideon Levy , who is known for his criticism of Israeli policy, is fairly typical of the sort of coverage you�d find in the Israeli press but never on a U.S. editorial page: Gaza has been reoccupied. The world must know this and Israelis must know it, too. It is in its worst condition, ever. Since the abduction of Gilad Shalit, and more so since the outbreak of the Lebanon war, the Israel Defense Forces has been rampaging through Gaza - there's no other word to describe it - killing and demolishing, bombing and shelling, indiscriminately.
  • "EVERY STINGRAY IS A VERY REAL AND PRESENT DANGER."

    "EVERY STINGRAY IS A VERY REAL AND PRESENT DANGER." It was just last week, in his speech to the American Legion, that Donald Rumsfeld likened appeasement to "feeding a crocodile, hoping it would eat you last." Then famed crocodile hunter Steve Irwin died -- in a tragic, fluke run-in with a stingray. The Corner's Cliff May wasted no time in switching gears to draw the proper stingray-as-Islamofascism metaphor. --Sam Rosenfeld
  • JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: THE BUSY SEASON.

    JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: THE BUSY SEASON. After five years during which Congress has abetted the president's power-grabs in the name of fighting terrorism, recent court decisions have forced the legislative branch finally to take action -- for better or worse. Jonathan Hafetz offers a primer on the issues, including surveillance and detainee policy, that Congress will be confronting this fall, with the opportunity either to check the executive's claims of power or grant them official sanction. --The Editors
  • TALKING ABOUT TALKING...

    TALKING ABOUT TALKING ABOUT. I'm basically agnostic on whether Democrats should welcome a national security debate this fall. If the Democrats weren't such a bunch of fools and knaves, a rollicking, high-intensity discussion over George W. Bush 's failing war, bin Laden 's surprisingly successful game of hide-and-seek, and the unpreparedness for disaster that Katrina exposed would be a welcome additive to the GOP's anxieties. But the Democrats often are a bunch of fools and knaves, so who knows how it'll wash out. What they really do need to stop doing is complaining every time the GOP brings up national security. Every time Republicans bring up security in a pointed fashion, Democrats commence whining about "politicizing" terror. Terror, however, is political, just as health care, jobs, and unemployment numbers are. When Democrats appear reluctant to even discuss the issue, voters conclude, rightly, that they either don't know what they think, don't know what they'd do, or are too...
  • THE END OF...

    THE END OF UNIVERSALISM. Leave it to David Brooks to bury a recantation of long-held beliefs in a Labor Day weekend column. His Sunday column this week is significant, however, because it outlines a conceptual error that was common in conservative and neoconservative circles over the past five years, and which can still be found across the political spectrum. Writes Brooks: I spent much of the 1990�s (that most deceptive decade) abroad � in Europe, the former Soviet Union and the Middle East. People everywhere seemed to want the same things: to live in normal societies, to be free, to give their children better lives. Now it seems that was an oversimplified view of human nature. It�s true people everywhere want to satisfy their desires, but they also require moral systems that will restrain and give shape to their desires. It�s true people everywhere love their children, but they also require respect and recognition and they will sacrifice their own lives, and even their children�s...
  • AGAINST DOUBLE-SIDED ANONYMITY...

    AGAINST DOUBLE-SIDED ANONYMITY IN JOURNALISM. Last spring I was briefly involved in an unpleasant blogstorm for making the case against double-sided online anonymity, but the sorry case of Lee Seigel revives my concerns. Let me be clear: I have nothing against people using pseudonymns to write in comment threads (except when, as in Lee's case, they're writers working under the expectation that they always take public responsibility for their work), or who author blogs while cloaking their identities. It's a free country, and pseudonymous speech has a long tradition in American politics and a strong legal basis for continued protection. However, I was and remain disturbed by the way newspapers and magazines quote from bloggers and commenters whose identities they do not even make an attempt to determine. So far I have lost this battle, and badly -- even The Washington Post quotes anonymous blog commenters without always confirming their identities -- but I do believe journalists will...

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