MORE ON ABUJA. Just to respond to Matt, this update on the Abuja negotiations from the Sudan Tribune seems to indicate that the rebels� initial rejection of an African Union draft accord was a tactically wise move. Since the U.S. delegation arrived on Monday, the A.U. draft has been scrapped. It seems that Robert Zoellick and Co. have effectively sidelined the A.U., making the Abuja agreement a thoroughly American affair.
DAVID IGNATIUS: MCCAIN'S A MAVERICK BECAUSE I LIKE HIM. A quick point to add to Matt's deft skewering of David Ignatius's column on John McCain. What's amazing is that Ignatius is saying the jury's out on whether McCain will prove in the future to be adequately capable of flip-flopping -- yet in the same column, Ignatius also lists two instances where McCain already flip-flopped. Ignatius writes: "Some people...have a knack for making easy compromises on the road to election, but McCain isn't one of them."
OFF THE RESERVATION. I'm sorry to admit that I'm edging into full-blown Chomskyism, but I totally don't understand why we're even debating whether or not to bomb Khartoum when the Sudanese government's already agreed to disarm the Janjaweed and halt the killing in Darfur, only to have an African Union-approved peace plan rejected by Darfuri rebels. If we're going to threaten to bomb anyone, shouldn't it be the side refusing to make peace rather than the side that has Arabs on it?
TNR AND DARFURTNR�s Adam B. Kushner went to the Save Darfur rally on Sunday, and concludes that we liberals are na�ve to think that anything short of military strikes will stop the carnage in Darfur. This seems to be the emerging line over at The New Republic. Last week, I responded to a similar argument by Lawrence Kaplan by spelling out some intermediate steps that the administration has been loathe to take but could go a very long way to pressing Khartoum to cease their aggression.
BETWEEN WAR AND PEACE, MORE WAR. If you're looking for an illustration of Jason Zengerle's point that John McCain continues to enjoy strong support from the MSM, look no further than David Ignatius's column on the maverick in which McCain's opportunism and flip-flopping turn out to be virtues because he's so tortured about his opportunism, and the only real question is whether McCain can develop the cojones to flip-flop enough to win. Even better is this: "The most polarizing issue for the country is the Iraq war. Here, as on other fronts, McCain tries to bridge the extremes." Really?
WHITE HOUSE: EARTH MAY BE ROUND, FURTHER STUDY NEEDED. An administration-commissioned scientific study has concluded what everyone already knows: Global warming is real and human activity is an important factor. Is a change of heart on the White House's part in the offing?
LIBERAL BLOGGERS DON'T WANT TO DESTROY THE "MSM" -- THEY WANT TO MAKE IT BETTER. Just about everyone in the lefty blogosphere has taken a swing at Mike McCurry's piece over at The Huffington Post, and now it's my turn. In case you missed it, McCurry wrote that he knows reporters -- and Pulitzer Prize winners, at that -- who feel "intimidated" because "most of the blogosphere spends hours making them feel that way."
Steven Greenhouse had an excellent piece in today's New York Times about sweatshops in Jordan that manufacture apparel for export to the United States. This industry has been developed largely as a result of a trade agreement that Jordan signed with the United States in the late nineties. The article describes slave-like conditions, as foreign workers routinely have their passports confiscated by factory owners so that they cannot freely leave. According to the article, workers can be forced to work up to 48 hours straight, are routinely ripped off for their pay, and are beaten if they complain.
At the risk of damaging my standing as one of the leading proponents of the housing bubble argument, I would take issue with the assessment of a Washington Post article. The article reported that the percentage of people refinancing homes with mortgages that are larger than the original mortgage (in other words, pulling equity out of their home) hit a 16 year high in the first quarter.