PRINCIPLES. I generally agree with Matt's article today, particularly his conclusion that principles are "only good if your principles are the right ones." But he seems to be contradicting himself here:
MEANWHILE IN AFGHANISTAN. I've avoided commenting on the apparently deteriorating situation in Afghanistan because I don't understand the dynamics over there very well, but it is worth noting that the situation certainly does seem to be getting bad: "Suspected Taliban guerrillas in the southern province of Helmand ambushed and killed 32 people on Sunday, all of them relatives and tribesmen of an influential member of Parliament, among them a former local government official, the legislator said Monday."
I COME NOT TO BURY DEMOCRACY, BUT TO PRAISE IT. Like Matt, it wasn't my intent to greet Cherny and Baer's new magazine with a negative post, it just happened that I wandered into an article that I had to hack my way back out of. So let me take the opposite tack now and highly recommend Gar Alperovitz's piece on a progressive ownership society. He goes through the usual -- though undoubtedly important -- asset-building stuff, but I'm more interested in his rundown on employee-owned corporations, of which there are now nearly 12,000, with some mega-companies boasting revenue in the billions.
HIGHLY EXPLICABLE. It's a small point, but one passage in the aformentionedNational Reviewarticle made me laugh out loud:
If Republicans want credit for spending restraint, they also should have some high-profile program eliminations. Corporate welfare presents obvious targets. It seems inexplicable that Republicans haven�t taken up this issue despite the fact that every conservative think tank has pushed them to do it for years.
ADVICE, GOOD AND BAD. The latest National Reviewcover story by Kate O'Beirne and Rich Lowry offers a blueprint for Republicans to save their congressional majorities. Much of their advice, I think, is actually (unfortunately) pretty sound, including their forthright endorsement of the renewed GOP efforts to make a lot of noise about security issues and the Iraq War in spite of the war's unpopularity.
MAKING NICE. Just to avoid the appearance that Ezra and I are waging some kind of anti-Democracy jihad, let me say I liked thesetwo book reviews a great deal, and nobody can accuse Jedediah Purdy of failing to put forward bold, outside-the-box ideas here. Indeed, that's so bold and outside the box I really can't think of anything to say about it at blog-speed . . . perhaps after some consideration. I'll have to give the rest of the issue a read and you should too.
SHOULD I JOIN THE ARMY? If you haven't heard, the much-rumored Democracy: A Journal of Ideas is now up and running, with all content seemingly available online for the low, low price of a somewhat cumbersome registration process. It "will serve as a place where ideas can be developed and important debates can be spurred." So let's debate. Kathryn Roth-Douquetwrites "The Progressive Case for Military Service," but I don't understand what she's trying to say.
DEMOCRACY: A JOURNAL OF IDEAS? Congrats to Andrei Cherny and Ken Baer on the coming out party for their new journal Democracy. It's long been a frustration to me that I can enter a bookstore and find the shelves dotted with serious -- which is to say oddly sized and densely written -- conservative journals, but can't pick up anything save the occasional copy of Dissent when I'm in the mood for some lefty wonkery. That said, I'm a bit confused by the wonkery on display.
ABOVE THE LAW. An informative but oddWashington Post editorial about detention policy notes all the ways the post-9-11 Bush administration has violated pre-9-11 rules against abusing prisoners, then notes all the ways the Bush administration has sought to evade post-Abu Ghraib efforts to get them to comply with the law, and then concludes with . . . suggestions for more stuff Congress might do. But Congress has already banned torture -- several times, depending on how you count.