CONTRA MATT. My friend over the cubicle wall does a disservice to the debate over Darfur by calling into question some basic facts about the genocide. First, he falls into a trap that paralyzed international responses to genocide following the holocaust. Namely, that �genocide� primarily means the German slaughter of the Jews of Europe.
WHERE MY HO'S AT? While we've been busy with blogosphere inside baseball, Laura Rozenpoints out that the MSM has been mighty quick to swallow the White House line that Porter Goss's rapid and unexpected departure has absolutely nothing to do with the burgeoning investigation into Hookergate.
THE END OF THE MEME. We've been hearing for the past two years, mainly from Republicans, that the Democratic Party has no ideas. It's time to put that meme to rest, because the American people clearly disagree. According to today's New York Times/CBS News poll, which also found President Bush with a 31 percent approval rating:
By better than two to one, Democrats were seen as having more new ideas than Republicans.
The Times had an article this morning that reports on Sweden's success in sustaining healthy rates of economic growth, while also ensuring a high degree of economic security for its workforce. The article is mostly fair, but is misleading on a few points.
For example, the article reports that Sweden overhauled its Social Security system in the mid-nineties and added private accounts. This is true, but it would have been helpful to add that the defined benefit portion of Sweden's system is still approximately one-third larger (relative to wages) than the current U.S. system.
EARLY RETURNS. Russia, China, Cuba, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia are among the inaugural members of the new Human Rights Council. In a perfect world, none of these countries would be entrusted with a seat on the council. But the world is not perfect, so it was inevitable that some countries with less than stellar human rights records would become members. The true test of the council, however, will not be its membership, but the actions it takes once constituted.
THE ULTIMATE. I was relieved to see that, amidst the current rehashing of Richard Cohen's greatest hits, Digby had the presence of mind to mention what is, without a doubt, the most insanely Cohen-esque Cohen column of them all. I mean, I don't think its preeminence is seriously disputable. It inspires in me something genuinely close to awe. Reading it now is heartening in a way, for it reminds one of the distance that has been covered, and the progress made, over the last six years. There was a time when wankery truly ruled in a way it just doesn't today.
GOP FUNDRAISING APPEALS. Speaking of The New Republic, Michael Crowley has a very good post over at The Plank where he excerpts a chunk of text from the latest National Republican Senatorial Committee fundraising letter. It has an astounding eight paragraphs sounding the alarm about the investigations and imminent impeachment proceedings the GOP says Dems will launch if they take back one or both houses of Congress. As Crowley notes, "it's pretty clear what Republicans--who, after all, have no other good choices--want this election to be about." Obviously this is meant to get the bucks flowing in from the conservative base, but the question is, Will it?
HAYDEN AGONISTES. On the question of how a more John Negroponte-influenced CIA under Michael Hayden influences the struggle over intelligence resources between that agency and the Defense Department, reports still differ fairly dramatically.
THE PARTY OF IDEAS. If there's any justice, today's New York Times article chronicling the intellectual vibrancy now on the left will finally kill the crusty charge that Democrats lack ideas. If you'll remember, that was the word shortly after Bush won reelection. It was the primary talking point during the GOP's aborted campaign to privatize Social Security, and even though their big, new idea proved an embarrassing failure, its implosion did nothing to dislodge the new swipe against the Democrats from the media's mind.
MORE CIVILITY.Ramsey Clark's obviously a bit 'round the bend, and I have a personal grudge against Howard Zinn, but at least here on the left we don't toss around unsubstantiated allegations of treason as a once-a-week rhetorical gambit against folks we don't like.