WHO SHOULD YOU CHEER FOR? The World Cup's a tough time for wannabe cosmopolitan progressives. We always hear about the Europhiles populating the left, but the truth is, Europhilia requires a bit more than a taste for good cheese and an affection for the welfare state. Indeed, it demands a near encyclopedic knowledge of soccer. And not just teams who've already penetrated the literate lefty's consciousness (I'm looking at you, Barca and Arsenal), but the unknown squads, the local teams, the regional powers. And even that knowledge, once acquired, proves itself rapidly obsolete come World Cup time, as the multinational European outfits disassemble so their players can rejoin their native country's all star teams. So who to root for? Who's good?
IGNATIUS ON GITMO. We need some content up here quick, so let me just say that David Ignatius is certainly right about this. It's hard to maintain consistent focus on the Bush administration's bizarre and inhuman passion for degrading the United States' record on core human rights issues, but what they're doing in Guantanamo is an enormous outrage.
EVERYBODY LOVES IRAN. One interesting result of the latest Pew Global Attitudes survey (PDF) is the high level of Muslim support for the Iranian nuclear weapons program. Pluralities in Egypt and Jordan and a majority in Pakistan say they want to see Iran get the Bomb. That's not opposition to American military intervention in Iran, that's people actually favoring Iranian acquisition of nuclear weapons on the merits. Thirty percent of Indonesians and 23 percent of Turks are also on board.
LABOR 101, PLUS SOME EXTRA CREDIT. You owe it to yourself to read Nathan Newman's inspiring, irresistible "Why Unions? Labor 101." Folks here know I'm a health care guy, but one of the reasons why is my belief that among our health system's many destructive tendencies, it's largely helped doom the labor movement. To be fair, the union movement was often complicit, offering insubstantial support to national proposals and preferring to expend resources on improving limited benefits for their direct members. It's a sin they've long since repented for, with yesterday's UAW convention offering only the latest example.
LET'S GET READY TO RUMBLE!Slate is hosting a debate between former New Republic Editor-at-Large Peter Beinart and American Prospect Editor -- and advanced, multidimensional life form -- Mike Tomasky on Beinart's new book The Good Fight. Attentive readers will already have read Mike's review of the book, but if not, check it out, then grab your ringside seat to Slate's prominent pundit thunderdome.
BORROWED TIME. I'm not going to try and strain to work myself up into a lather of ineffectual indignation about it, but obviously beating a crowd of 200 women's rights protestors in Teheran in loathsome. The article even comes with bonus Islamic Republic weirdness: "Throughout most of the confrontation, female officers beat female protesters and male police beat male protesters there to support the women. Male police generally are not permitted to touch female suspects."
UNCHARITABLE. Cato's David Boaz has a gleeful post whipping Andrew Cuomo -- and by extension, all liberals -- for his relatively paltry commitment to charity. "In 2004 and 2005," Boaz writes, "Cuomo had more than $1.5 million in adjusted gross income. And he gave a total of $2,000 to charity. He made no charitable contributions in 2003, when his income was a bit less than $300,000. It�s no wonder that Cuomo believes passionately in taxing Americans to support all manner of welfare and transfer programs. Looking within himself, he quite understandably fears that in the absence of coerced transfer programs there would be no support for the poor.
THE QUIET IRAQI. Check out yesterday's Spencer Ackermanpost noting that the Iraqi government includes a man by the name of Muhammed Shahwani who was appointed back in the Iyad Allawi days. He apparently can't be fired by Allawi's successors, is paid by the United States of America, and runs a secret police outfit that, likewise, is accountable to the American government rather than the Iraqi one.
THERE'S THE BEEF.The New Republic has obliged those of us puzzled by their previous Darfur editorializing with a new one spelling out what exactly they think we should do. I have some concerns. "The consensus among experts," they write, "is that it would take approximately 20,000 troops to secure Darfur." At the same time, the explicit model for this operation is Kosovo where the initial KFOR deployment was over twice that size, and even today "more than 16,000 peacekeepers" are on the ground.