Archive

  • Don't Blink

    Tonight I'm heading out to hear Malcolm Gladwell (yes, he of the hair ) read from his new book Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking. The book tries to prove that your instant, gut reactions are actually more intelligent than your considered analyses. The problem, however, is that my instant, gut reaction is that the thesis is clever bullshit, which means that actually reading the book would be a wholehearted repudiation of its argument. We'll see if he can prove himself wrong and convince me to ignore my quicker instincts tonight. -- Ezra
  • Lies for Truth

    Reacting to the recent liberal magazine editor roundtable (which I'll be saying more about later), Digby and Atrios are nailing Beinart for bringing up the "snubbing" of Bob Casey, the anti-choice governor of Pennsylvania who was denied a speaking slot at the 1992 convention. Now, Casey lost his spot because he didn't endorse the ticket, not, as the story goes, because he was anti-choice. But while Beinart is repeating a canard, he's repeating one that has crystallized into truth for many, many voters, and so long as the tale enjoys that kind of belief, simply ignoring it and condemning those who mention it does us no good. The reason the story has stuck -- a politically active and progressive friend repeated it to me mere days ago, and I'd be entirely unsurprised if Beinart actually thinks it's true -- is because there's a very real perception of the Democratic party as entirely intolerant to anti-choice views. And until that perception dies, the story will continue to live. It...
  • Why do conservative bloggers lie?

    That's not a rhetorical question, I really want to know. No, they don't all lie, and no, not all lefties tell the truth all the time, but we've really seen an epidemic of lies, and un- or half-truths on the right recently, and it's hard to fathom. Bet you didn't know Jimmy Carter was a traitor till Powerline told you. Bet you didn't know that David Corn supported Jeff Gannon till Instapundit cherry-picked sentences from Corn's column. Bet you didn't know that the left hates gays till Andrew Sullivan told you . Some of you might have seen over at my place that I took Powerline to task for reprinting Ann Coulter's patently false allegation that the NYTimes op-ed page was outing the gay children of prominent conservatives. I wrote to Powerline twice and presented them with evidence; I asked them to retract their statement; they didn't, nor did they write back. My question, quite simply, is: why? Why would you intentionally advance a falsehood? If I received an email like that, I'd...
  • Hello

    Greetings fellow Kleiniacs. Ezra has once again exhibited his astonishingly poor judgment and turned over the keys to someone else this weekend. We have promised not to wreck the car or raid the liquor cabinet, but we'll see. You never know what those crazy bloggers will do. OK, let's get the blog plugging out of the way. We are the two co-conspirators who sometimes ramble angrily on Here's What's Left . A word about the name. It's a pun. It both expresses a slight resignation about the world, as if to say, "*sigh* here's what's left."; but also, we're lefties, so literally, "here, on our blog, are things that are of the left." See, that's funny, right? We say only because sometimes people get it wrong in interesting ways. The other day some guy linked to something we had written referring to us as "Here's What They Left." But then that fellow also said that we accused the US military of being baby killers; so he appears to have had reading comprehension problems. So it'll be us, and...
  • Weekend Stuff

    As you can see from the quality piece below, Shakespeare's Sister is back minding the house. Keeping her company will be Michael and Heather from the excellent Here's What's Left . I'll be around this weekend as well, and will probably pop in with pieces of my own as the mood strikes. It's going to be a party.
  • Terrorism 101

    Remember Afghanistan? We had a war there once. Not too long ago, in fact. It was, as I recall, because the government was suspected of harboring this guy , who was responsible for the tragedy we call 9/11. Soon after toppling that evil regime and bringing democracy and freedom to the Afghanis, we all but left, because we had to move on to our next stop on the Freedom Express, Iraq. Here’s the problem (hat tip Crooks and Liars ): Afghan heroin production represents an "an enormous threat to world stability" and the country is "on the verge of becoming a narcotics state," the U.S. State Department said in a report released on Friday. Despite steps by the Afghan government and foreign donors, the U.S. International Narcotics Control Strategy Report found the Afghan "narcotics situation continues to worsen" more than three years after U.S.-led forces toppled the Taliban regime. […] The most dramatic conclusions in the report, an annual survey of the world drug trade, were about...
  • Get Me The Smelling Salts

    What? The blogosphere is not really self-correcting ? Shock! Awe! Shame! And this from Time Magazine's blog of the year ? My innocence knows no solace!
  • Complacency Kills

    As successfully as the Democrats seem to be repelling Bush's assault on Social Security, we still show no conception of how to turn our defensive entrenchment into a powerful counterattack. We cheer when one of our number tags privatization as an attack on Social Security's legitimacy, but what about on the legitimacy of government? For twelve years this Nation was afflicted with hear-nothing, see-nothing, do-nothing Government. The Nation looked to Government but the Government looked away. Nine mocking years with the golden calf and three long years of the scourge! Nine crazy years at the ticker and three long years in the breadlines! Nine mad years of mirage and three long years of despair! Powerful influences strive today to restore that kind of government with its doctrine that that Government is best which is most indifferent. For nearly four years you have had an Administration which instead of twirling its thumbs has rolled up its sleeves. We will keep our sleeves rolled up...
  • Bad Democrat!

    Regarding Biden and his potential vote for the atrocious bankruptcy bill, Jon Chait writes : The trouble here is that the relationship each Democrat has with his home-state business interests is the relationship every Republican has with every business interest. The bankruptcy bill enjoys unanimous GOP support in the Senate. It's a familiar pattern: Noxious laws enjoy support from a coalition of all the Republicans plus a rotating handful of Democrats who have ties to interested parties. Almost all the Democrats are on the side of the angels on almost every issue. But it doesn't take many Democratic defectors to give the Republicans a majority. Just so. Worse, these little hook amendments are often inserted precisely so this or that Democratic will glom on to the porkish bit in the abhorrent whole. That's fine for some folks, Senator Ben Nelson, for instance, has gotta do what he's gotta do to keep his job. But unless Biden is caught in bed with a live boy or a dead girl, his seat is...
  • Bad Move

    There's really nothing more counterproductive than leaks on Iran. It's not so much that I'm against strengthening the opposition there, but that saying we're going to do it ensures it'll never work. This is a society where the politics regularly refocus on a coup we carried out half-a-century ago. This is a government that routinely calls us "the Great Satan". This is a place where dissidents are tortured -- where bloggers are imprisoned ! -- and the reform movement has collapsed through the cowardice of the entirely ineffective Khatami. And, finally, this is a nation that is dangerously close to developing nuclear weapons. Now, I tend to think that, considering the paltry funds ($3 million dollars? Are they going to get the opposition a midsize home in Los Angeles?) discussed in the article, the whole thing is a sop to neocons antsy over our newfound cooperation with the European negotiations. But the success of those talks is contingent on the Iranian regime's belief in their own...

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