Archive

  • JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: CULTURE CLASH.

    JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: CULTURE CLASH. The clash of civilizations theory isn't, in fact, all bogus, says Addie Stan ; but the conclusions the right has drawn from it are the reverse of what's really called for. --The Editors
  • BEATING DR. BEETROOT....

    BEATING DR. BEETROOT. In the world of the AIDS pandemic, South Africa is, as Stephen Lewis , the U.N. Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa, memorably termed it, "the unkindest cut of all." The only country in the region rich enough to truly mount an aggressive campaign against the disease is hampered and hamstrung by an administration so aggressively opposed to science that they make the Bush crew look like the MIT Electron Microscope Appreciation Club. South Africa's health minister, Manto Tshabalala-Msimang , believes beetroots, garlic, and African potatoes are an effective replacement for anti-retroviral drugs, which the government fought to keep out of the hands of their citizens. The murderous negligence is taking its toll: One out of every eight HIV cases in the world is currently in South Africa. Nine hundred of the country's citizens die every day from the disease. For perspective, if you scale their population to ours, that would be 5,744 daily deaths, or almost two 9-11s every...
  • FALSE SENSE OF INSECURITY?

    FALSE SENSE OF INSECURITY? Yesterday's New York Times Week in Review piece about the state of the war on terrorism does the service of raising a notion and a possibility that no politician has found very useful to acknowledge: [F]ive years of evidence suggests that the terrorist threat within the United States is much more modest than was feared after 9/11, when it seemed quite possible that there were terrorist sleeper cells in American cities, armed with �weapons of mass destruction� and awaiting orders to attack�As time has passed without a new attack, the voices of skeptics who believe that 9/11 was more a fluke than a harbinger are beginning to be heard. The GOP, needless to say, has lacked much incentive over the last five years to dampen the sense of danger and crisis stemming from the terrorist threat. But doing so has proven to be distinctly off-message for the Democrats as well, given their relentless (and, to be sure, accurate) emphasis on the Bush administration's...
  • THE LEFT'S COMING OF AGE.

    THE LEFT'S COMING OF AGE. For years now, the standard attack on liberals or liberal Democrats has been two-pronged. The first prong proceeds from the idea that the vast majority of liberals are weak, slow-to-learn political bunglers who repeat the same mistakes, chose the same dumb candidates, take lumps without fighting back, etc. The second prong of the attack is to assert that the small sliver of politically competent liberals are ruthless, shameless, rabid radicals bent on destroying the country and its values -- not to mention liberalism itself and the Democratic Party along the way. Call it the feckless-or-reckless critique: The smart, reasonable elements are weak, and the strong elements are unhinged lunatics. With this formula, there�s not a sane liberal and the only Democrat with any redeeming value is somehow Joe Lieberman . Well, guess what? In the wake of the nationwide campaign to de-legitimize ABC�s 9-11 �documentary,� it will be increasingly hard for the mainstream...
  • REMEMBERING POST-9-11. ...

    REMEMBERING POST-9-11. I'm going to eschew the 9-11 remembrance motif that's flitting through the blogosphere. Like all Americans, I found the day to be wrenching and horrific, the experience hallucinatory and unsettling. But I lived all the way out in California -- indeed, in the very same town where Duncan noticed a curious detachment from the event -- and to pretend that I can even start to understand the agony it caused those who were immediately affected would be nothing more than an opportunistic attempt to use a national tragedy to enhance my own moral credibility. So I won't. I'll leave that to those who were there and who have more of a right to eulogize than I. That said, the political aftermath of 9-11, the reprisals conducted in the name of America, belong to us all. I've only ever felt the Afghanistan War to be a legitimate response to the hijackings. The Iraq War was falsely sold under the same rubric, but Hussein , as the Senate Intelligence Committee recently...
  • THE RETURN OF...

    THE RETURN OF GOREWATCH It�s been awhile since we did this, but I'm becoming convinced that Al Gore will run. Part of my reasoning has to do with grapevine, friend-of-a-friend type of stuff; part of it is that the realization of Hillary 's weaknesses has made the field look more open than it previously did; part of it is warm reception his movie received; and part is that Gore's "denials" have become about as convincing as Hillary's. Take, for example, the gem he offered up in Australia last week: "I haven't completely ruled out running for president again in the future but I don't expect to." Frankly, the same could be said about me, but if anyone wants to start a draft movement, I'd be in like a shot. Given that there are already a wide range of sites, organizations, and individuals trying to attract Al to the race, it's looking less and less likely to me that he'll resist the temptation. --Ezra Klein
  • I COME NOT...

    I COME NOT TO BURY DAVID BROOKS... Last week I wrote extensively on the problems I saw with David Brooks ' recent column on inequality. I thought it both dead wrong and totally misleading as to the views of Lawrence Katz , the Clinton economist Brooks brandishes for bipartisan cred. Folks can check out the interview I did with Katz here , rebutting much of it. That said, Brooks' follow-up piece , where he proposes some solutions to inequality, was actually quite good, and is coming in for some rather unfair criticism. The Brooks plan has basically five elements: 1) favorable tax treatment for families with children (aimed at allowing one parent to stay home if they choose); 2) strengthening marriage by making urban single men more attractive mates through a heightened earned income tax credit for single males; 3) asset building; 4) universal preschool; and 5) more variety in schools. Brooks describes this as "an agenda that is socially conservative and economically progressive," which...
  • FROM THE SEPTEMBER PRINT ISSUE: THE REAL RUDY.

    FROM THE SEPTEMBER PRINT ISSUE: THE REAL RUDY. Rudy Giuliani became "America's Mayor" five years ago today with a show of strong leadership while New York was attacked. But the credibility regarding terrorism and security that Giuliani garnered for himself that day doesn't stand up to scrutiny. In this piece from the September print issue of the Prospect (adapted from the upcoming book Grand Illusion: The Untold Story of Rudy Giuliani and 9/11 ), Wayne Barrett and Dan Collins lay out an eight-year history of error and negligence on the mayor's part that has never gotten the attention it deserves. Likewise, after Giuliani was sworn in on January 2, 1994, he did not discuss the terrorist threat the city faced with other key officials. As U.S. attorney, Giuliani had hired and befriended the men who had prosecuted the city�s important antiterrorism cases, from Gil Childers, who convicted most of the 1993 bombers, to Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman�s prosecutor Andrew McCarthy, to Ramzi Yousef �s...
  • OBSCENE.

    OBSCENE. Both the Times and the Post note this morning that Bush laid two wreaths at ground zero last night in the company of George Pataki , Mike Bloomberg , and Rudy Giuliani . The Post goes well out of its way to remark that the event �left aside the partisan rancor� that�well, that Bush & Co. have enforced on the country since about 9-14. If this event was so nonpartisan, where were Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton ? Neither paper makes any mention of their having been there. I�m told that in fact they were not invited (they were at St. Paul�s church, where Bush went after laying the wreaths -- and where there were apparently no photographers!!). In what sense does an event that features four Republicans but excludes the two senators who were representing New York at the time of the event, but who happen to be Democrats, leave aside partisan rancor? I was in NYC during 9-11 and for two years after, and I remember Chuck and HRC (and House members of both parties) attending...
  • David Brooks and Inequality: Round II

    After getting a few things wrong in his last column, David Brooks is back to tell us his remedy for the problem of inequality: education (sorry, it�s Times Select and therefore not linkable). He proposes an agenda that would promote educational opportunity for middle class and poor kids. I question whether his route is the best one for this task (universal child care and health care would rank higher on my list), but promoting educational opportunities for the less advantaged is certainly a good thing.

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