WHAT INFRASTRUCTURE WHERE? It's worth noting that Israel's target choices are a bit trickier to evaluate than Matt lets on. While it's true that "they're not just attacking armed Hezbollah personnel; they're dropping bombs on offices in urban areas with all the attendant devastation that entails," it's not true that they're just hitting the Chase Western on the corner of Jihad St. and 14th. Most of the rockets are being launched from shell civilian and urban residences, and it's neither new nor unexpected that Hezbollah's infrastructure is tucked away in the most civilian-heavy portions of the country.
WHAT'S THE MATTER WITH GAZA. Among many other things, it's run by thugs, gangs, and militias who have no more concern for civilian Palestinians than they do for Israelis. The Washington Post makes that pretty clear in this story about the Israeli ground re-invasion of Gaza:
Mariam el-Selgawi, a neighbor who fled her home with her eight children and elderly in-laws, said she knows why the Israelis are back.
WEEK TWO. I'm lacking in deep thoughts on the situation at the moment, but it occurs to me that folks defending recent Israeli attacks on Lebanon seem to me to be defending something that's happening in an alternate reality rather than the actual events on the ground. Repeating the mantra that Israel is aiming to crush Hezbollah doesn't change the fact that, in practice, this isn't what Israel is doing. For one thing, they're not just attacking armed Hezbollah personnel; they're dropping bombs on offices in urban areas with all the attendant devastation that entails.
THUMBSUCKERS BEWARE: NOVAK'S NAMING NAMES.Chicago Sun-Times columnist Robert Novak gave quite the unconvincing performance yesterday on �Meet the Press.� As Novak answered question after question from anchor Tim Russert about his role in the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson and the subsequent investigation by Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, the Prince of Darkness (as he is known in these parts) proved himself more dottering than wily, contradicting himself, and giving weak and multiple explanations for why he gave up his sources to the special prosecutor. Novak's excuse? Well, the prosecutor already had their names. How's that for standing on principle?
The NYT had a good piece this morning reporting on how the medical supply industry pays top hospital executives thousands of dollars for advice on how to market their products. This is what you expect to happen when government patent monopolies allow these firms to sell their products at prices that are several hundred percent above the free market price.
NPR had a piece this morning warning of a shortage of agricultural workers in California. It reported that some crops may rot in the field, if farmers there can't get more workers by the end of the summer.
Those of us who believe in markets would suggest that the farmers try raising wages. It is possible that some of the crops being farmed now in California would not be profitable, if farmers had to pay the wage necessary to attract workers in the current market (or if they had to pay the market price for water). In a market economy, that means that the farmers made bad choices on crop choices.
Back in the days of the Soviet Union, key facts were often excluded from historical accounts in order not to put the regime in a bad light. The NYT seems to be experimenting with this journalistic style.
The Times had an interesting piece discussing the impact of more than $1.2 trillion in adjustable rate mortgages resetting in the next two years. The article points out that many homeowners may find their rates increasing by as much as 2 full percentage points when their lock-in period ends on an adjustable rate mortgage.
JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: THE RULES OF THE GAME. Earlier today, Laura Rozentalked to Mark Perry, co-founder of the Beirut-based Conflicts Forum, which has administered dialogues between Hezbollah and former American and British officials for the past several years. Perry assesses the current crisis, and doesn't pull punches:
We�ve been hearing the theory that the timing of Hezbollah�s Tuesday kidnapping of the two Israeli Defense Force soldiers was planned well in advance and with coordination from Tehran or Damascus. Can you speak to that?
SPECTER'S SHAM INDEPENDENCE, EXAMPLE #2,494. For those who haven't yet read much about the Arlen Specter-Bush administration "compromise" on the NSA domestic surveillance program, this from Marty Lederman is highly worth reading. Orin Kerrelaborates further on the troubling balance-of-power implications in the bill, while Jane Harmanconcurs that the thing's no good.