PROGRESSIVE REALISM: SO GOOD IT NEEDS A NEW NAME? I've been remiss in not linking to Robert Wright's curiously long op-ed in Sunday's New York Times making the case that "It�s now possible to build a foreign policy paradigm that comes close to squaring the circle � reconciling the humanitarian aims of idealists with the powerful logic of realists." He calls the paradigm "progressive realism" and lays out what it is. I endorse virtually everything therein with two petty caveats.
JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: STEMMED PROGRESS. As the Senate gets set to vote on a bill to expand federal funding for stem-cell research, CAP's Jonathan Moreno and Sam Bergerexplain how much our current federal policy stinks.
SCATOLOGICAL DISCOURSE. It was a big news day for excrement, yesterday was, what with the President's reference to what the Syrians were doing, followed by Joe Wilson's performance last night on "Countdown with Keith Olbermann." Speaking of the famous 16 words in Bush's 2003 State of the Union address that set off the chain of events that led to the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson, her husband, a former ambassador to Iraq, explained his view of those events.
ISRAEL AND THE U.N. The Timesreports that "A top Israeli general said today that Israel�s offensive in Lebanon would last another few weeks, and he said that the use of large numbers of ground forces had not been ruled out." That would be unfortunate. And based on the past track record of Israeli interventions in Lebanon, it seems very unlikely that weeks or months of anti-Hezbollah actions are going to provide a permanent solution to Israel's problem on the northern border.
JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: TRIUMPH OF THE WILL.Mattreminds us that going to war with Iran (and Syria) would still be a bad idea, and contemplates the comic book quality of the hawks' foreign policy outlook:
LEO STRAUSS, UNREHABILITATED. If you're in the mood for a bit of a high-minded intellectual detour from the hurly-burly of the blogosphere, take a gander at Scott Horton's fascinating pushback on recent efforts to rehabilitate philosopher and second-degree mentor to various neoconservative intellectuals Leo Strauss as a hero of liberal democracy. You've got some intellectual history here and also Horton's translation of a fascinating letter from Strauss to Karl L�with, another philosopher of the period who traveled in similar circles.
ANOTHER NO-SHOW.George Bush makes a habit of not making it a habit of speaking at NAACP conventions. Apparently, there is an opening in his schedule this week, and Chairman Julian Bond and President Bruce Gordon still hope Bush will drop by, since the meetings are in D.C.
THE PARTY OF BUNGLERS. Would you like the early line on the exact moment when the Democratic Party bungled the midterm elections this fall -- and, as an added bonus, People's Exhibits Q through Z why Rahm Emanuel and the folks at the DCCC would screw up a one-car funeral, even if you spotted them the hearse?
Well, this is it. This good, tough Internet ad gets pulled because some of the people who enabled the murderous lunacy depicted therein throw public hissy-fits. Almost immediately thereafter, Senator Mike DeWine (R-I'm-Not-Bob-Ney-Dammit!) drops a television spot using the people killed on September 11 as a cudgel on Sherrod Brown.
The NYT had a very good piece about how the shift of 6 million Medicaid beneficiaries into the Medicare drug benefit program may increase drug company profits in 2006 by $2 billion. According to the article, under the new program the drug companies get to sell the same drugs at higher prices. It doesn't get much better than this!