Archive

  • OY VEY. I'm...

    OY VEY. I'm trying to restrain myself from further Lieberman -blogging, but after reading this in the Observer , I can't help but wonder if Rep. Anthony Weiner has ever actually read The New York Review of Books : �We do have a problem with progressives and those in the blogosphere, because the Palestinian position seems to be perfect for the Internet world of pithy back-and-forth and 30-second You Tube tapes, where the Zionist position is more at home in a seven-page New York Review of Books article,� said Representative Anthony Weiner, a pro-Israel hawk who opposes the war in Iraq. Not to put too fine a point on it, but The New York Review has got to be one of the least Israel-hawky mainstream publications in America (see, e.g., Michael Massing 's excellent " The Storm over the Israel Lobby "). Given that, I'd sort of taken for granted that I'd also be able to poke fun at Weiner's apparent belief that YouTube is a hotbed of Palestinian agitation but, in fact, he seems to be totally...
  • AM I AN...

    AM I AN ANTI-SEMITE? Possibly. I am, after all, quoted in a New York Observer article hinting that there's more to blogger opposition of Joe Lieberman than meets the eye -- namely, a deep seated revulsion towards Zionism (death to the infidels remix). Not to kvetch over this, but that's a meshugina interpretation of the primary. When Jason Horowitz called to ask me about anti-Semitism�s influence in the blogosphere, my first response was similar: Say my name, real slowly, and then ask again. To posit that the land of Glenn Greenwald , Ezra Klein , Matthew Yglesias , Max Sawicky , and Lindsay Beyerstein carries some grudge against Jews is a bit rich. And that doesn't even approach the veneration for Paul Wellstone or the support for Russ Feingold . What my quote was actually saying, before it got chopped off, was that it's a pleasant fantasy for certain self-righteous elements of the party to recast this battle as a brave war for religious tolerance rather than an ideological and...
  • WHAT LIEBERMAN APOLOGISTS...

    WHAT LIEBERMAN APOLOGISTS DON'T GET. In his latest Post column , as usual Harold Meyerson is spot on: Lieberman apologists are pushing one straw man after another about how Joe is being unfairly persecuted, when the truth is that he is a state and regional outlier. The most bothersome straw man is that Lieberman is held to some standard of partisan purity others are not. Look, nobody is saying that members of Congress (of either party, and from any state/region) have to vote with their party�s majority 100 percent of the time, or that they have to have 100 percent score as calculated with this or that ideological interest group. But Lieberman has far less right to ask for such lateral. In his case study of House races in the South during the 1980s and 1990s, political scientist James Glaser drew a conclusion about how southern Dems survive: �The outsider image that southern Democrats had was doubly effective as they disassociated themselves from both national parties. They played an...
  • Silliness on the Budget Deficit

    The coverage of the debate over the recent budget numbers has been painful. The arguments on both sides have been far removed from reality. The media should have put in the effort to bring the issue back to earth. First, the White House's claim that the recent growth in revenue show that the tax cuts have somehow paid for themselves, by increasing growth, is laughable. If we go back to 2001, before the economy had the benefit of President Bush's tax cuts, CBO projected the economy to grow by 20 percent between 2000 and 2006. On its current path, growth over this period is projected to be 16.7 percent. (CBO's growth projections are constructed to average in the effect of recessions, so the 2001 recession should not affect this story. Furthermore, even the White House's growth projections do not show the economy ever catching up to the path projected by CBO in 2001. In other words, the White House's economists don't believe that the tax cuts have had any substantial impact on growth.)...
  • Noble Lies to Promote Korean Trade Agreement?

    The prospect of a new trade agreement with the United States has prompted mass opposition within South Korea, as demonstrated by large and angry protests. The International Herald Tribune (IHT) appears to be rising to the occasion, going all out to push the new pact. The article includes a variety of facts that are supposed to demonstrate the need for the trade agreement. It begins by noting that South Korea's growth "averaged a torrid 8 percent a year in the 1970's and 1980's, has slowed in recent years." Wow, they can't sustain an 8 percent growth rate, disaster looms. In fact, South Korea's per capita GDP growth has been averaging about 3 percent a year over the last few years. This is very good for a country with European standards of living. (Post NAFTA Mexico would be euphoric if it ever achieved this growth rate.) The article then reports that Korea's share of the U.S. export market has fallen to 2.6 percent from 3.3 percent a decade ago. And this is supposed to matter, why?...
  • ARE COMPUTERS TO...

    ARE COMPUTERS TO BLAME? This morning's breakfast with Chuck Schumer was...different. The focus was, surprisingly, not on Schumer, but on Joe and Eileen , his decidedly fictional median couple, who he insisted on running every issue by in extended and questionable imaginary dialogues. It was a bit odd. It wasn't clear whether Joe and Eileen were deciding how Schumer votes, what the DSCC emphasizes, how Democratic senatorial candidates frame, or merely keeping him company when he zones out during committee hearings, but the obsession with them proved a bit discomfiting. That, however, is a discussion for another day. During the talk, Schumer kept repeating that the central political fact of our era was that technology had transformed our world and neither political party had yet understood how to respond. Constant references to the "information age" (see Klein, Joe ) are a pet peeve of mine, particularly when they're just dropped in as a conversation-killer, proof that every policy a...
  • UH-OH. The past...

    UH-OH. The past 36 hours have had a bit of a clash of civilizations feel to them, what with Russia killing Shamil Besayev , India pointing the finger at Pakistani "militants" for yesterday's bombing in Bombay, and Israel invading Lebanon after Hezbollah captured some soldiers. Meanwhile, Yossi Klein Halevi informs me in The New Republic that: The next Middle East war--Israel against genocidal Islamism--has begun. The first stage of the war started two weeks ago, with the Israeli incursion into Gaza in response to the kidnapping of an Israeli soldier and the ongoing shelling of Israeli towns and kibbutzim; now, with Hezbollah's latest attack, the war has spread to southern Lebanon. Ultimately, though, Israel's antagonists won't be Hamas and Hezbollah but their patrons, Iran and Syria. The war will go on for months, perhaps several years. There may be lulls in the fighting, perhaps even temporary agreements and prisoner exchanges. But those periods of calm will be mere respites. The...
  • JUST POSTED ON...

    JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: DOCTRINAL ERRORS. TAP talks to Ron Suskind , author of the widely hailed new book about America's war on terror, The One Percent Doctrine . Suskind discusses secrecy, torture, Hamdan , and more. Here he is on the most important, and scariest, relationship in government: I think the book provides the clearest rendering of the key relationship in terms of the American ship of state, which is between Bush and Cheney. Cheney essentially creates an architecture, a kind of platform, in which George Bush can be George Bush and still be president and indulge or embrace his gut, his instinct, a kind of man-of-action posture. Bush is quite active in the book. For some folks on the left, that will be a bit of a change or a deepening of their view of Bush. Certainly it�s not the caricature of Bush that�s been out there, but you do see, for better or for worse, who the president is. He is quite engaged operationally in how we fight the war on terror, though he is not...
  • SPEAKING OF DATA......

    SPEAKING OF DATA... The Young Turks' Cenk Uyger has an amusing post over at The Huffington Post where he points out that the median age of a viewer of Bill O'Reilley �s FOX News show is 71 years old. (Via The NYT .) So if you ever wondered which is the official newshour of cranky old men, now you know. --Garance Franke-Ruta
  • SO 15 MINUTES...

    SO 15 MINUTES AGO. In a sure sign that Da Vinci Code madness is winding down to a mere cultural tic, the most public member of the very secretive Opus Dei yesterday stepped down from his post as the pope's spokesman. Joaquin Navarro-Valls , the Spanish layman credited with crafting the late Pope John Paul II �s communications juggernaut, has handed in his resignation, most likely at the request of Pope Benedict XVI , who is installing his own guy, an Italian Jesuit named Federico Lombardi . In addition to making a rock star out of a Polish pope, Navarro-Valls is also seen as the force that brought the right-wing Opus Dei to legitimacy in the Vatican, giving it a direct line to the pontiff. --Adele M. Stan

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