Archive

  • SWEET, SWEET ITALY-BASHING.

    SWEET, SWEET ITALY-BASHING. All last week, on IM, I've been chatting with TAPPED alum and current UN Dispatcher Fast Leon Goldberg , mocking the idea of an Italian-led peacekeeping mission in Lebanon. Italy, after all, has what's got to be the western world's least distinguished military record, managing to get stomped by the disintegrated Austro-Hungarian Empire on various occasions, failing to subdue Ethiopia during the high tide of imperialism, and generally proving to be more millstone than ally during the Second World War. It did, however, occur to me that this might be an unfair smear. Maybe Italy has a distinguished record in contemporary peacekeeping operations. It could happen, right? Well, it could , but Jeremy Kahn , less lazy than I, takes a look at the evidence and finds nothing but more of the same. It's probably actually irrelevant to the current situation, in which the UN force is more of a face-saving way for everyone to return to the status quo ante and get a new...
  • WHY EDUCATION IS...

    WHY EDUCATION IS GOOD FOR THE LADIES. Forbes.com executive editor Michael Noer 's execrable and poorly reported "article," "Don't Marry Career Women," has been given the thorough mocking it deserves by now, making his name and his site the laughing stock they deserve to be for years to come. Those who are yearning for some real data on what life is like for contemporary "career women" won't have to wait for Noer's ignominy to fade, though. This October, social scientist (and friend of GFR ) Christine Whelan will publish Why Smart Men Marry Smart Women (Simon & Schuster), which gathers in one place all the most recent facts about men, women, education, achievement, and marriage. Whelan finds, contra the misogynistic Noer's glib and partial reading of the social science literature, that real career women -- women with graduate degrees or who are high-earners for their age group -- are just as likely to marry as their less accomplished peers, and significantly less likely to divorce...
  • JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: WHAT WOULD LENIN DO?

    JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: WHAT WOULD LENIN DO? Should progressives seek to shore up the employer-based healtcare system in ways that help employees of companies like Wal-Mart, or are such measures actually counterproductive to the long-term goal of replacing that system with national health insurance? Do things need to get worse before they get better? Ezra and Nathan Newman recently tussled over this question. Today, Maggie Mahar weighs in on the debate. She's with Ezra. --The Editors
  • THE PERILS OF...

    THE PERILS OF MULTILATERALISM UNILATERALISM. Charles Krauthammer has another one in his occasional series of columns deriding the usefulness and effectiveness of multilateralism. It would seem, however, that his thinly veiled contempt for the cumbersome process of consensus-building is a bit misplaced -- he's convinced that both North Korea and Iran will finish their nuclear bombs, and nothing we or our allies can do will stop them. That is, of course, true. But it's a truth that multilateralism could have helped prevent. Going to your allies is not a solely transactional process. You do it to attract their cooperation and material support for your plans, to be sure, but you also do it to get outside feedback on your priorities. If no one is willing to accede to your scheme, it may indeed be a crackpot, counterproductive, or problematic undertaking. So it was with Iraq, which other countries realized would prove an eventual mess. When we were readying to enter the country, Dominique...
  • WORTH SEEING?

    WORTH SEEING? So far I have watched one-and-a-half of the recently released documentaries about the national tragedies of September 11 and Katrina. On Native Soil is the film version -- presuming a documentary can actually substitute for the National Book Award- nominated Report -- of the findings of the 9-11 Commission. I�m also halfway through Spike Lee �s four-hour film, When the Levees Broke , about the Katrina disaster. Although the directors of ONS have an advantage in terms of the volume and visual impact of available footage -- is there any more compelling, if horrifying, footage than the sight of that second plane hitting the South Tower? -- Lee paces his film so slowly that I repeatedly found myself wanting to hit my DVR�s fast forward button. Though I�ll reserve final judgment on Levees until I plow through the last two parts of his four-part requiem, the choice of �plow� is the giveaway. Some of Lee�s interviews are great, especially those he extracted from New Orleans...
  • PURGE OF MELE BEGINS.

    PURGE OF MELE BEGINS. As well it should. The New Organizing Institute (a "grassroots training and research program created by experienced online organizers...in conjunction with MoveOn.org") just announced it has "removed Nicco Mele from its Advisory Board after learning that Mele will be supporting John McCain if he should run for president." It is important that someone is taking the lead in drawing the line against progressive support for McCain , and I hope more progressive organizations follow. NOI went on to add, "Senator McCain's record is radically out-of-step with the values of most Americans�and certainly inconsistent with the values of the NOI." Indeed. As McCain's campaign picks up steam, there is going to be a temptation for some progressive reformers to lose their minds and support him for the same lame quasi-character-based reasons Mele gives: "[his] work on campaign finance reform and his independent streak." I've always been perplexed by this obsession good-government...
  • BREATHLESS FOR THE APOCALYPSE, FROM SAN ANTONIO TO TOLEDO.

    BREATHLESS FOR THE APOCALYPSE, FROM SAN ANTONIO TO TOLEDO. As talk of war with Iran intensifies , it�s hard not to see the bated breath of the Armageddon brigade fogging up the windows of the White House. John Hagee , the San Antonio televangelist and leader of Christians United for Israel, has used every twist and turn of the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah to promote his vision of a world-ending confrontation with Iran. Almost two weeks ago, he told his followers that the shaky ceasefire between Israel and Hezbollah will �only be a pause before the coming storm between America and Israel and the rogue nation of Iran.� Written just four days after Bush said on national television that America �is at war with Islamic fascists who will use any means to destroy those of us who love freedom, to hurt our nation,� Hagee�s missive included this dire warning: �The people of America do not want to admit Islamo-Fascism is a threat to this nation. It is! They don't want to believe that...
  • WHOA: GEORGE ALLEN...

    WHOA: GEORGE ALLEN IS JEWISH? So says The Forward , which has traced his mother's lineage back to a family of Tunisian Jews, making Allen, as we used to say in my German-Jewish family, "Jewish enough to be killed for it, if they start killing Jews again," even though he's a practicing Episcopalian: Allen�s mother, Henriette (Etty), whose maiden name was Lumbroso, is indeed Francophone and Tunisian born, a heritage that forms a romantic theme in �Fifth Quarter: The Scrimmage of a Football Coach�s Daughter� the memoir of Allen family life written by Allen�s sister Jennifer. What�s more, it is likely that she�s Jewish by birth, although no acknowledgment of that heritage appears in the memoir. Allen�s campaign spokesman, Bill Bozin, did not return several detailed messages, left over two days, that asked what the senator and his family know about his mother�s heritage. Depending on what additional information comes out on the matter, the controversy could end up resurrecting a dominant...
  • NYT Discovers Seller Side Concessions

    The New York Times had an excellent piece this morning on the fact that sellers are increasingly offering substantial non-price concessions in order to move their homes. As the article notes (and has been mentioned repeatedly on BTP) these concessions are not recorded in the sale prices that enter the standard house price indexes. Therefore these indexes are missing some of the price decline in recent months. I promised a BTP goat prize to articles commenting on housing prices that did not note this seller side concession issue. In the future, such articles will get a BTP-NYT goat prize.
  • JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: AN ACCOUNTABILITY MOMENT.

    JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: AN ACCOUNTABILITY MOMENT. Public outrage; political infighting; the outbreak of myriad corruption, real estate, and sex scandals -- Jo-Ann Mort takes us on a tour of the Israeli domestic political scene in the wake of the war in Lebanon. It ain't pretty. --The Editors

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