WHY DO POLITICAL ADS SUCK? I don't really know what to make of this Ned Lamont ad featuring Markos Moulitsas, but two things immediately jump out. One, you're not going to just forget that you ever saw it. Two, it's destined to attract some buzz, free media, attention, etc. These are things you would think people would want to accomplish with campaign ads but, pretty clearly, Democrats almost never even try. Instead you get this super-generic mind-numbing stuff. The GOP runs the occasional noteworthy ad like the "Wolves" spot from the '04 presidential campaign, but Democrats almost never do. It's fairly bizarre.
HOW TO ARGUE LIKE A CONSERVATIVE. Just as they apparently think it's out of the question to point out that something said by a foreign baddie is, in fact, correct, conservatives also seem to think that the ex-CEO of Qwest's status as a corporate crook somehow deals a crippling blow to liberals' appreciation for his decision not to cooperate with the NSA surveillance program. But what does one thing have to do with the other?
WHO OWNS FACTS? Major League Baseball has apparently decided that it not only owns the rights to broadcast baseball games but owns the statistics as well, so it can shut down unlicensed commercial fantasy baseball operations. Personally, I'd be thrilled if fantasy baseball gets wiped off the planet, but that's neither here nor there. If this is correct, then presumably MLB can shut down noncommercial fantasy games too. Or, for that matter, non-fantasy commercial uses of baseball statistics -- like, you know, when the sports section of your local newspaper runs the box score.
WHY DID VERIZON AND BELLSOUTH ISSUE DENIALS AFTER THE STORY BROKE? Here's another thing about the denials that doesn't quite add up. As we've seen, both Verizon and Bellsouth have more or less denied the USA Today story saying that the NSA has been secretly collecting their phone records.
LOOKING FOR EVIL IN ALL THE WRONG PLACES. To follow up on Matt's point below, the GOP's scaremongering on terror has become downright comical. They're hysterical over the prospect that terrorists will board a plane, fly to Mexico, spend months planning and making the deadly cross-desert trek, arrive in the US dehydrated and exhausted, and then set about conducting a terrorist attack. Wander across the Canadian border? Unthinkable!
LATINO ASSIMILATION FACTS. Along with the fake issue of immigration and national security is the fake concern that Hispanic immigrants don't assimilate. For example, Robert Samuelsonearns his bones today as one of those white pundits, employed by white editors, writing for an audience of white people, who has the courage to speak uncomfortable "truths" about how non-white people are bad:
IMMIGRATION AND NATIONAL SECURITY.Heather Hurlburtnotes that the American people definitely see immigration as a national security issue and politicians need to deal with that reality. And so they do. But is immigration a national security issue? I don't really see why. No terrorists have ever been apprehended trying to cross the border from Mexico. Several have been caught trying to cross the border from Canada, but none of them were actually breaking any immigration laws -- people are free to come here from Canada as they please. They were breaking laws against driving around with bombs and plotting to blow stuff up.
GORE WATCH. Whether Al Gore is gearing up for another run or just jumping back into the public eye to promote his coming movie, his reentry into the media's consciousness has been brilliant. Many of you have already seen his Saturday Night Live clip, where President Gore addresses the successes (end of global warming) and failures (when glaciers attack!) of his tenure (if you missed it, John Amato has you covered). Over the past couple of months, he's made the cover of Wired, Vanity Fair, and most significantly, The American Prospect.
HOW TO ARGUE LIKE A HAWK. As you may recall, a little while back Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadenijad sent George W. Bush a somewhat rambling letter. One passage in the letter noted that if the billions of dollars spent on the Iraq War had instead been spent on fighting global poverty and improving worldwide public health, the United States would be liked instead of hated. This is, as best I can tell, entirely true. When I read that, I did a blog post noting the passage's existence, noting its accuracy, and saying that Iran's president was "making a lot of sense" in that particular passage.
Both the Clinton and Bush administrations were eager proponents of European union expansion, calling on the EU to quickly admit the former Soviet bloc countries, as well as Turkey. The media have typically presented resistance to rapid expansion as reflecting perverse European fears of globalization. The Post had another piece in this vein this morning.
In assessing this resistance to expansion, it would be helpful to point out that the EU is more than just a NAFTA type trading bloc. It is a quasi-state, that in principle allows free movement of people and workers across borders and provides for substantial subsidy flows from richer regions to poorer ones.