Archive

  • I COME NOT...

    I COME NOT TO BURY TNR ... Consider this a "before we get too far" post. It should be said, amidst Markos 's assault on TNR , that no magazine where the publisher just penned a Gore 2008 endorsement should really be considered "on the other side" or the " Joe Lieberman " weekly. Ryan Lizza 's recent work on George Allen 's neoconfederate sympathies has been superb, anyone on the left who has the slightest interest in Iraq should be reading Spencer Ackerman 's every word, and the magazine is, in general, a strong and forceful advocate for progressive domestic policies. I do, like Jon Chait , worry about the "with us or against us" overtones of Kos's riposte -- the left should judge its allies on more than friendliness and tone. That said, I was unimpressed with Jason Zengerle 's post yesterday and said so. It's simply untrue that Markos commands fealty by dangling advertising revenue. But I take no joy in the accelerating split between "the netroots" and TNR . The basic issue, it seems...
  • HACKERY UNBOUND. You'll...

    HACKERY UNBOUND. You'll have to search far and wide for more egregiously hackish behavior than that engaged in this week by the chairmen of the House Intelligence Committee and the Senate Intelligence Committee , respectively. These guys are real tributes to their posts. --Sam Rosenfeld
  • CAN THIS MAN...

    CAN THIS MAN SOLVE POVERTY? He's good. Better, in fact, than you remember. I just got back from a National Press Club luncheon where former VP candidate John Edwards gave the first substantive policy address of his yet-unannounced 2008 candidacy. News that Edwards can command a crowd's attention is scarcely news at all, so I'll not dwell on that. Nor will anyone be particularly shocked -- though some will be enthused, and others inspired -- to hear that Edwards wishes to make the elimination of poverty a national crusade. Here's what is new: � Poverty is going to be John Edwards foreign policy. That's not to say he'll lack a variety of proposals and opinions on our dealings with other countries. He's called for the immediate withdrawal of 40,000 troops from Iraq and just coauthored a book on Russia with Jack Kemp . But his vision, his mega-critique of our foreign policy direction, will be about poverty. Edwards's big idea seems, at least from this speech, to be downright Beinartian...
  • THE REPORT. Keep...

    THE REPORT. Keep scrolling through TPM Muckraker for some choice excerpts from and analysis of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee's final report (PDF) on Jack Abramoff 's Indian tribe shenanigans. As has been noted , committee chair John McCain had been quite careful in steering this investigation away from intensive looks into the actions of sitting members of Congress; discussion of Bob Ney , however, was unavoidable in a final, comprehensive report. Go to pages 162-180 for the goods. The report's authors are very careful in how they structure the account of the Tigua tribe's work with Ney, documenting Ney's contradictions of other witnesses' claims without explicitly rendering a judgment on the he said, she said disputes. Plenty of the material is damning, though: During his interview with Committee staff, Congressman Ney said he was not familiar with the Tigua.272 He could not recall ever meeting with any member of the Tigua.273 When asked about a possible two-hour meeting,...
  • WEIRD LEDE OF...

    WEIRD LEDE OF THE DAY. The Hill takes the prize: When Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter stepped into the shower yesterday, it was an elusive immigration overhaul, not a slippery bar of soap, that he most hoped to keep within his grasp. Potent imagery, I suppose. --Sam Rosenfeld
  • IDEAS, FIRST PRINCIPLES,...

    IDEAS, FIRST PRINCIPLES, THE PHILOSOPHY GAP, ETC. To add to the pushback against liberal "ideas" hype , I recommend reading Greg Anrig 's post as well as Alan Wolfe 's essay in the latest Washington Monthly . Neither actually make arguments against the transcendent relevance of big ideas to political parties, but they both make a refreshingly obvious point that relates to that debate: namely, that conservative Republican governance -- the culmination of the right's storied decades-long efforts to build a movement and an intellectual infrastructure and to incubate new ideas while out in the political wilderness and blah blah blah -- has been an unmitigated fiasco and embarrassment. Most of the right's big ideas have turned out to be less than half-baked, and the right in power has failed to advance most of the basic goals of political conservatism. Wolfe makes a very sweeping and historical case for the inevitability of conservative failure in power ("A conservative in America, in...
  • NDN GETS BACK...

    NDN GETS BACK TO ITS ROOTS. So the annual NDN Conference gets under way at noon today, and guess who's on the speaker line-up ? New Democrats. People who have ties to the Democratic Leadership Council. People accused on blogs of centrism. The main political speakers at the conference are: Rep. Rahm Emanuel , chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee; former Virginia Governor Mark Warner ; Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack , chair of the DLC; and Senator Hillary Clinton . There's Bernard Schwartz , Chairman of the Board and CEO of Loral Space & Communications -- a defense contractor and major Democratic funder -- and also... Markos Moulitsas Zuniga , described on the conference schedule as an "internet pioneer." Last time I saw Markos speak, at the Yearly Kos conference, I turned to my seat-mate and said: That man is going to run for office one day. Between his media trainer's styling advice (which included such tips as wearing hair-gel) and his now extensive public speaking...
  • JUPITER RISING, WAGES...

    JUPITER RISING, WAGES STUCK. In all innocence, I went on to the Washington Post 's home page on Wednesday afternoon to see who voted how in the Senate vote on raising the minimum wage. I found what I was looking for: the eight Republicans (Chafee, Coleman, Collins, DeWine, Lugar, Snowe, Specter, Warner) who voted along with the Democrats to raise the wage. (That gave the forces of good 52 votes, but the Republicans had structured the vote to require 60.) Then I noticed that the Post had the vote broken down not just by party but by state, region, gender, and boomer and pre-boomer (not a very revelatory category: boomers backed the proposal by a 24 to 21 margin; pre-boomers, by a 28 to 25 margin). What to my wondering eyes should then appear but one more category: Astrological sign . Yes, the Post lets you know the vote breakdown among all those Cancers and Geminis. The most pro-raise sign was Sagittarius (6 yes, 3 no); the most anti was Virgo (2 yes, 6 no). For anyone with a double...
  • Dollars Down the Drain

    The Washington Post reported on former Treasury Secretary, and soon to be former Harvard President, Larry Summers' suggestion that the foreign central banks of developing countries begin to unload some of their huge dollar holdings. As someone who has been writing on this issue for almost five years (see here , here , and here ), I am glad to see that it is now getting attention from some prominent economists. Unfortunately, the article (and perhaps Summers) confuses cause and effect. The article implies that the central banks acquire these huge holdings because of their countries' vast trade surpluses with the United States. It suggests that the banks buy up dollar reserves because they don't know what else to do with their money. While there be some holdings due to simple confusion of this sort, this is probably the least important factor in the huge build-up of reserves. Part of the reason is that developing countries do not want to end up in financial crises where they can then be...
  • JUST POSTED ON...

    JUST POSTED ON TAP: CAT SCRATCH FEVER. Tom Schaller describes his run-in with Dave "Mudcat" Saunders , the Democrats' Dixie huckster, and discusses some of the problems the Democrats face in the South. --The Editors

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