SOFT BALANCING. In an important post on the TNR soccer blog, Alex Massie notes that it's not just the World Cup we're losing, American performance in international athletic competitions generally has been poor in recent years. He asks, "So what, fellow Goal Posters, is it about the United States that makes this country so apparently and congenitally hopeless at team sports?" In a later postBrian Sinkoff observes that, among other things, we were beset by very unfortunate officiating. The same thing happened to USA Basketball in the 2004 olympics in Athens. Coincidence? I think not.
NPR did a piece this morning on doctors' pay that leaves you wondering why they get taxpayers dollars. The basic point was that doctors, especially primary care physicians, are struggling. The news hook was a new survey that showed that doctors' net (after malpractice) pay is not keeping pace with inflation.
Suppose that the senators who support a quick withdrawal from Iraq got in the habit of saying that the United States should get out of Iraq because losing 100 U.S. soldiers a day is an unacceptable price for the occupation. Would the media simple report this claim without comment? Or, would they point out that these senators apparently don't realize that the fatality rate is approximately 2 per day?
My guess is that every story that noted the claim that 100 soldiers a day are being killed would correct this assertion based on an authoritative source on the causality count. The media would probably also run numerous stories that reported on the fact that the proponents of a hasty withdrawal have no idea what they are talking about. This would be good journalism.
I COME NOT TO BURY TNR... Consider this a "before we get too far" post. It should be said, amidst Markos's assault on TNR, that no magazine where the publisher just penned a Gore 2008 endorsement should really be considered "on the other side" or the "Joe Lieberman" weekly. Ryan Lizza's recent work on George Allen's neoconfederate sympathies has been superb, anyone on the left who has the slightest interest in Iraq should be reading Spencer Ackerman's every word, and the magazine is, in general, a strong and forceful advocate for progressive domestic policies.
CAN THIS MAN SOLVE POVERTY? He's good. Better, in fact, than you remember. I just got back from a National Press Club luncheon where former VP candidate John Edwards gave the first substantive policy address of his yet-unannounced 2008 candidacy. News that Edwards can command a crowd's attention is scarcely news at all, so I'll not dwell on that. Nor will anyone be particularly shocked -- though some will be enthused, and others inspired -- to hear that Edwards wishes to make the elimination of poverty a national crusade. Here's what is new:
THE REPORT. Keep scrolling through TPM Muckraker for some choice excerpts from and analysis of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee's final report (PDF) on Jack Abramoff's Indian tribe shenanigans. As has been noted, committee chair John McCain had been quite careful in steering this investigation away from intensive looks into the actions of sitting members of Congress; discussion of Bob Ney, however, was unavoidable in a final, comprehensive report. Go to pages 162-180 for the goods.
IDEAS, FIRST PRINCIPLES, THE PHILOSOPHY GAP, ETC. To add to thepushback against liberal "ideas"hype, I recommend reading Greg Anrig's post as well as Alan Wolfe's essay in the latest Washington Monthly.
NDN GETS BACK TO ITS ROOTS. So the annual NDN Conference gets under way at noon today, and guess who's on the speaker line-up? New Democrats. People who have ties to the Democratic Leadership Council. People accused on blogs of centrism. The main political speakers at the conference are: Rep. Rahm Emanuel, chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee; former Virginia Governor Mark Warner; Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack, chair of the DLC; and Senator Hillary Clinton.