MAKING NICE. Just to avoid the appearance that Ezra and I are waging some kind of anti-Democracy jihad, let me say I liked thesetwo book reviews a great deal, and nobody can accuse Jedediah Purdy of failing to put forward bold, outside-the-box ideas here. Indeed, that's so bold and outside the box I really can't think of anything to say about it at blog-speed . . . perhaps after some consideration. I'll have to give the rest of the issue a read and you should too.
SHOULD I JOIN THE ARMY? If you haven't heard, the much-rumored Democracy: A Journal of Ideas is now up and running, with all content seemingly available online for the low, low price of a somewhat cumbersome registration process. It "will serve as a place where ideas can be developed and important debates can be spurred." So let's debate. Kathryn Roth-Douquetwrites "The Progressive Case for Military Service," but I don't understand what she's trying to say.
DEMOCRACY: A JOURNAL OF IDEAS? Congrats to Andrei Cherny and Ken Baer on the coming out party for their new journal Democracy. It's long been a frustration to me that I can enter a bookstore and find the shelves dotted with serious -- which is to say oddly sized and densely written -- conservative journals, but can't pick up anything save the occasional copy of Dissent when I'm in the mood for some lefty wonkery. That said, I'm a bit confused by the wonkery on display.
ABOVE THE LAW. An informative but oddWashington Post editorial about detention policy notes all the ways the post-9-11 Bush administration has violated pre-9-11 rules against abusing prisoners, then notes all the ways the Bush administration has sought to evade post-Abu Ghraib efforts to get them to comply with the law, and then concludes with . . . suggestions for more stuff Congress might do. But Congress has already banned torture -- several times, depending on how you count.
The NYT had a piece this morning reporting on how Europe is heavily dependent on coal, despite its "green image." While the article had much useful information, it never mentioned the fact that Europe emits approximately 50 percent as much greenhouse gas per capita as the United States. In the numerate world, this is an important piece of information.
LITTLE FISH EAT BIG FISH. Bloggers were in a tizzy all weekend over a New York Timesreport by Opinionator Chris Suellentrop on Friday unearthing the fact that Mark Warner PAC Internet strategist Jerome Armstrong was charged with being a stock tout in the late 1990s, hyping a worthless company in which he held stock without disclosing the conflict of interest, leading to an Securities and Exchange Commission investigation that alleged that �there is sufficient evidence to infer that the defendants secretly agreed to pay Armstrong for his touting efforts�; a permanent injunction against Amstrong touting stocks; and ongoing litigation over
MORE MINIMUM WAGE FUN. From EPI's inimitable Jared Bernstein:
The federal minimum wage has been raised 19 times by Congress since its introduction in 1938. Eighteen states, covering about half of the national workforce, have minimum wages above that of the Federal level. And over 100 cities have living wages--a higher minimum that applies to workers on city contracts or at firms with local government subsidies.
THE IRAN OVERTURE. Yesterday, Kevin Drummentioned a Washington Postarticle recounting the contents of a secret 2003 letter to the United States from Iranian officials putting a huge slew of issues on the table for direct negotiation (nukes, recognition of Israel, etc.). Drum notes that the Post buried the article.
GET IN LINE.Shadi Hamid is appalled by Zaid Shakir's declaration that all "honest" Muslims would hope the United States becomes an Islamic nation, "not by violent means, but by persuasion." Hamid says "it is incumbent upon moderate Muslims who believe in freedom, democracy, and the US constitution to repudiate such remarks." But why? This is hardly an exceptional position in public life. Evangelical Christianity is a potent political force, and it's rather straightforwardly interested in widespread conversion. As it should be.