DEMS ARE -- GASP! -- STAYING ON OFFENSE. It was refreshing to read the toughly worded statement DSCC chief Chuck Schumer put out today about the AP poll which showed far more Americans want Democrats to run Congress. Said Schumer:
MORE TNR DARFUR, FEWER KUDOS. One of my favorite public intellectuals, Samantha Power, also pens an excellent essay which raises a crucial point that will likely make some of the Iraq war hawks who roam the halls of TNR rather uncomfortable.
KUDOS TO KATZ.Marisa Katz�s contribution to The New Republic�s Darfur issue stands out as the issue's must-read piece. She writes an update of a trend in the Bush administration�s Sudan policy that I identified in the Prospect a year ago. Back then, the administration was hastily working to ensure that the Comprehensive Peace Accord (between the North and South) was implemented. So as not to upset these negotiations, the administration appeased Khartoum in a policy that bore the hallmarks of creeping rapprochement with the regime.
MIXED MESSAGES. It would seem that the U.S. military's new mockery campaign against Abu Musab al-Zarqawi cuts two ways. (See the outtakes the military released, showing Zarqawi looking all bumbling and incompetent trying to fire a gun, here.) They unrolled the new footage at a Baghdad press conference, and to the extent this is actually targeted for Iraqi consumption, trying to cut Zarqawi's mystique down by revealing him to be (in the Times' paraphrase) an "uninspiring poseur" makes some sense, I suppose.
TRUNCATE OFTEN?Charles Krauthammerwants us to believe that if Iran builds a nuclear bomb, it will launch an unprovoked nuclear attack on Israel. As his evidence, he cites the fact that Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani once observed that "the use of a nuclear bomb in Israel will leave nothing on the ground, whereas it will only damage the world of Islam." This quotation has also made an appearance, so far, in two New Republic articles.
THE NAME GAME. Some commenters, in response to this post on George Allen's turn as a Confederate officer in a 2003 movie, are alleging that Allen's child Forrest Allen was named after Nathan Bedford Forrest, a Confederate cavalry officer who was a founder of the Ku Klux Klan after the war and whose name remains a byword for racially-charged controversy.
Like everyone else, the media have been confused on this basic question, with the main data sources providing very different answers. Last Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released the employment cost index (ECI) which showed a sharp slowing in the rate of nominal hourly compensation growth in the first quarter to an annual rate of just 2.4 percent. This is well below the rate of inflation, which, depending on the course of gas prices, will be in the range of 3.0-4.0 percent for this year.
WHEN CHICKENHAWKS CLUCK. Annoyed by complaints of chickenhawkery, Warren Bellposts an email from Greg Pollowitz who complains: "I got called a chickenhawk the other day. I think one of the greatest missed opportunities since 9/11 is that the govt. didn't create a way for 30+ year old guys who want to help, but really can't, to serve." But, actually, they did. Welcome to the National Guard, where all citizens between the ages of 17 and 40 are eligible for service.
POSSIBLE GOOD NEWS. According to this latest dispatch from Abuja, Nigeria, both the Sudanese government and the disparate Darfuri rebel factions have agreed to sign the peace accord. The details of the accord are not yet available, but presumably the agreement entails the absorption of rebel fighters into the Sudanese armed forces and some sort of power-sharing arrangement