GORE WATCH. Whether Al Gore is gearing up for another run or just jumping back into the public eye to promote his coming movie, his reentry into the media's consciousness has been brilliant. Many of you have already seen his Saturday Night Live clip, where President Gore addresses the successes (end of global warming) and failures (when glaciers attack!) of his tenure (if you missed it, John Amato has you covered). Over the past couple of months, he's made the cover of Wired, Vanity Fair, and most significantly, The American Prospect.
HOW TO ARGUE LIKE A HAWK. As you may recall, a little while back Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadenijad sent George W. Bush a somewhat rambling letter. One passage in the letter noted that if the billions of dollars spent on the Iraq War had instead been spent on fighting global poverty and improving worldwide public health, the United States would be liked instead of hated. This is, as best I can tell, entirely true. When I read that, I did a blog post noting the passage's existence, noting its accuracy, and saying that Iran's president was "making a lot of sense" in that particular passage.
Both the Clinton and Bush administrations were eager proponents of European union expansion, calling on the EU to quickly admit the former Soviet bloc countries, as well as Turkey. The media have typically presented resistance to rapid expansion as reflecting perverse European fears of globalization. The Post had another piece in this vein this morning.
In assessing this resistance to expansion, it would be helpful to point out that the EU is more than just a NAFTA type trading bloc. It is a quasi-state, that in principle allows free movement of people and workers across borders and provides for substantial subsidy flows from richer regions to poorer ones.
GATOR GONNA GETCHA. Now this is alarming. From 1948 to 2005, 17 people have been killed by alligators in Florida -- about 0.30 deaths per year. In 2006, so far three alligator-related fatalities have occurred -- a tenfold increase over the trend. If this keeps up, 30 people will die next year, 300 in 2008, and so forth until in the year 2013 the United States experiences a shocking 300 million deaths by alligator. At that point, we'll be begging for immigrants.
PAGING DR. CLOONEY. If Robert DeNiropurchases the New York Observer, does this mean that it�s only a matter of time before George Clooney acquires the Prospect? We were on record calling Clooney "a great American" way before it became fashionable for right wingers to rag on him. Heck, Clooney and I were even quoted next to each other in a Mark Steyn screed against the U.N.
THE FILIBUSTER: GOOD FOR CONSERVATISM.The Hill has an article today about conservative trepidations over exercising the nuclear option and perhaps kickstarting the process of eliminating all filibusters outright.
JUST TUCK IT AWAY. Have others pointed this out? My eagle-eyed and long-memoried pal Bill in Albany sends along this piece from the San Francisco Chronicle, February 9, 2005. Headline: �Bush Scraps 9,790 Border Patrol Agents.�
It seems that one act passed by Congress in late 2004 and agreed to by the administration called for 10,000 more agents. But Bush�s budget in early 2005 funded only 210 additional agents. Just a fact worth knowing these days.
IF BUSH WELCOMES IMMIGRANTS, WHY PANDER TO THEIR ENEMIES? In today's Times, Elisabeth Bumiller offers a rather remarkable take on President Bush's immigration speech. She basically said that because his rhetoric was more accommodating than his actual policy proposals, it meant that his approach is "more subtle" than his proposed real-world solutions suggest. She tells us that "what was remarkable to people in Texas was how much he still believes in the power of immigration to invigorate the nation," and adds paragraph after paragraph about Bush's embrace of immigrants while in Texas.