Archive

  • DON'T MERELY MOCK...

    DON'T MERELY MOCK THE MUSTACHE. It's lovely to see some bipartisan scorn heaped on Tom Friedman in the form of enthusiastic plugs for this hilarious round-up of "the next six months are key" pronouncements on Iraq made over the last 30 months. (As FAIR puts it in the subhead to the list, "Iraq's 'decisive' six months have lasted two and a half years.") But in the spirit of yesterday's post , it's worth pointing out to conservatives that the point here isn't merely to make fun of Tom Friedman the silly columnist. There's an actual substantive issue here. Rich Lowry notes ruefully that he "would have agreed with [Friedman] every time he said it," but that's not a problem merely because he agrees with Friedman. It can't actually be the case that the window of opportunity for success in Iraq can constantly and indefinitely move forward like that. Friedman's just more profligate than most in laying down explicit deadlines that he then inevitably breaks; the real issue is that the prospects...
  • A PLUG. I�ve...

    A PLUG. I�ve been meaning to plug Foreign Policy �s excellent new blog, Passport . It is a great aggregator of international news replete with thoughtful commentary from FP �s excellent staff . My only complaint is that I wish their Supreme Leader would contribute more posts. But seriously, it�s an excellent read. Bookmark it today. --Mark Leon Goldberg
  • NEW RULE. ...

    NEW RULE. To follow up on Matt 's spat with David Frum , I think a rule needs to be adopted: If you don't care about income inequality normally, you're not allowed to make it your central argument against immigration. Frum is a guy who, throughout his career, has argued that income inequality has simply been a surge of salaries at the top. And he's been similarly unconcerned about mobility (which has decreased across the board , not just for Mexicans). The rich get richer, but the poor don't get poorer, so why worry? And to show how attentive he's been to the issue, searches on his blog for "inequality" or "mobility" turn up, literally, nothing. But when the subject turns to immigration, both become issues of paramount importance. Last night, over drinks at the Rooster , we were talking about what separated intellectual dishonesty from simple dishonesty. And this is an excellent example. Frum's arguments on intergenerational wage convergence among Latinos aren't lies. So far as I can...
  • DUBLIN DISPATCH. This...

    DUBLIN DISPATCH. This is the way politics should be. On a visit to Dublin this week, I happened to be in Grogan's public house at 11 a.m. The occasion -- as though one needs an occasion to be in Grogan's -- was a press event to celebrate a month-long tribute by the city to At Swim-Two-Birds , the Flann O'Brien masterpiece which is merely the greatest novel ever written by the hand of man, as part of Penguin International's "One City, One Book" series. There was a spirited public reading of "A Pint Of Plain Is Your Only Man," the epic poem by Jem Casey (the Poet Of the Pick), which is one of At Swim 's many highlights. We were all joined in applause by Miceal O'Nuallain , who not only is the late author's brother, but also is most famous as "The Brother," one of the several inconvenient hecklers who enlivened the column written by his sibling in The Irish Times under the name of Myles na Gopaleen . Early on, Catherine Byrne , the incumbent Lord Mayor of Dublin, stopped by, as did her...
  • LESSONS UNLEARNED. To...

    LESSONS UNLEARNED. To slightly dissent from Ezra 's take on John Conyers 's column on impeachment , I don't really think it's evidence of significant preemptive punch-pulling on oversight by the Democrats. This proposal for a select bipartisan panel is indeed possibly dubious, but I don't read it as being intended as the model for all committee investigations and hearings under a Democratic majority, just for the hot-potato impeachment question. Like Zach Roth , I think it's wise for Conyers and other Democratic leaders (including Nancy Pelosi ) to get out in front of the impeachment question and draw a stark distinction between throwing the President out of office (not really part of the plan) and holding bad-ass subpoena-powered oversight hearings and investigations (definitely part of the plan). Judging by what Pelosi has said in recent weeks, it certainly looks like that's her strategy. Meanwhile, the fact that there's even a serious question among some Democrats about the wisdom...
  • THE CHICANO DIFFERENCE?...

    THE CHICANO DIFFERENCE? David Frum tags me with glossing over some wage data in regard to the assimilation debate. He doesn't challenge the point about language use, so I'll take it that he's conceding this point to me. Frum observes that intergenerational Latino-Anglo wage convergence has slowed markedly since 1980 or so, which seems to be true. He attributes this to the difference between the older, Cuban-dominated Latino population and the newer, Mexican-dominated Latino population. That, however, just seems to beg for a further explanation of what about that difference makes a difference. Having some Cuban ancestry myself, I'd be open to a pure ethnic superiority argument on this score, but Frum attributes it to the fact that the Cuban immigrant pool is allegedly more urban than is the Mexican one, though I don't know of any data on the urbanness question. Here's a different explanation. Inequality has increased remarkably over the past 25-30 years in America and social mobility...
  • THE CONYERS PLAN....

    THE CONYERS PLAN . Obviously stung by Republican accusations that he's just achin' to impeach, Rep. John Conyers , potential chair of the Judiciary Committee in a Democratic House, wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post laying out the Conyers Plan for his committee. Impeachment, at least in the short-term, isn't on the agenda. Nor are partisan investigations. Instead, Conyers will create "a select committee made up equally of Democrats and Republicans and chosen by the House speaker and the minority leader" to find evidence of potentially impeachable offenses. If that emerged, the committee would then forward their recommendations to the Judiciary Committee and appropriate action could be taken. Conyers is taking such a leisurely route, he says, because the "House Republicans who took power in 1995 with immediate plans to undermine President Bill Clinton by any means necessary...did so in the most autocratic, partisan and destructive ways imaginable. If there is any lesson from those...
  • GORE WATCH. ...

    GORE WATCH . Looks like Al 's well on his way to netting the all-important Arianna endorsement . She checked out his new film and left the theater rather impressed. "Whether Al Gore ends up running in 2008 or not," she writes, "he is modeling the way our public figures, and especially our would-be presidents, should be operating -- from the heart and true to themselves. Standing for something more important than just winning, and more powerful than the fear of losing." The movie's also engendering something of a backlash, at least among those with vested interests in the current energy production scheme: FOX is trotting out professional global warming denier Patrick Michaels to counter Gore's flick. Michaels was on his show, said Sean Hannity , to deliver "the real scientific truth." I'm sure he was (for more on Michaels, go here ). And the CEI, a frontgroup for The American Petroleum Industry, is running pro-carbon dioxide ads . CO2, of course, is the compound which, in excess,...
  • THE RACE CARD....

    THE RACE CARD. It's worth linking to some recent Media Matters items on Bill O'Reilly and John Gibson who, rather than adopting the Robert Samuelson bad statistics approach to immigration restrictionism, have left the racism pretty close to the surface of their thinking about the issue. And, one has to concede that O�Reilly and Gibson are correct -- unless you massively reduce immigration off its current trends, America's future is going to have a much smaller proportion of white Anglos, sort of like the present-day Texas or California. What's so terrible about this I couldn't quite say, but maybe the anti-immigration folks on the right would care to elaborate and we could have a serious discussion about what's really bothering them here. --Matthew Yglesias
  • NUCLEAR BLUFFING. Dahlia...

    NUCLEAR BLUFFING. Dahlia Lithwick 's ruminations on a possible revival of the nuclear option fight and the dangers this particular method of base-pandering could pose for the GOP are worth reading. Lithwick argues that the Bush administration wouldn't be able to appease its religious right base even if Senate Republicans pulled the nuclear trigger this fall, but that's probably thinking a step further than necessary. Republican electoral desperation aside, the political context for a new Senate push on the nuclear option doesn't seem close to being in place: weakness and disarray in the caucus, the record thus far of the Gang of 14 compromise (it's been highly favorable for the President and his nominees), and the real-if-still-slight possibility of a Democratic takeover in November all mitigate against a serious fight. If Republicans couldn't manage to go through with this a year ago, it's hard to fathom them accomplishing it now, particularly with Majority Leader Stumblebum still...

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