Archive

  • Squandered Communications Strategies

    What always leaves me a bit shocked with the Bush administration's handling of Iraq is how unwilling they are to pursue courses of obvious political and military worth. Nobody in the White House thinks this war is playing well in the country, none of them are missing the polls or being blinded to the attitude shift. Back in the day, Don Rumsfeld's "behinder" memo proved he understood what was happening on the ground. And yet, aside from some weird leaks here and there, there's no effort to assure Americans that we have strategy for leaving, no move to convince Iraqis that we don't want to stay, and no sign that the Administration even knows what it's objective is. Larry Diamond, the Stanford democracy advisor who returned from Iraq and wrote Squandered Victory , is doing a book club over at TPM Cafe . His suggestions for the Bush administration had been a public disavowal of long-term designs (i.e, no 14 permanent military bases), a timetable for withdrawal tied to certain benchmarks...
  • James Dobson is Bad For My Soul

    What does it say that every time Dobson opens his mouth, I begin to blaspheme? Whenever he appears on my television or computer screen, I take the Lord's name in vain. This can't be good. Or can it? If James Dobson knew he was driving, say, half the country to sin, you think he'd stop? Anyway, this isn't just a random Dobson rants. John Cole noticed he's put out the warning signs of a child becoming one of the gays. and they're fairly funny. So if you're son is "different" from other boys, cries constantly, pretends he's female, only hangs out with girls, gets teased by other boys (particularly called "queer" -- 10-year olds have very perceptive "gaydars"), walks/talks/dresses like a homo, and insists he's a girl, he might be gay. Well, yeah, that does seem possible. But by the time I got to the end of his list, I was totally distracted by the uber-hot, multiracial women exhorting me to join "Focus on Your Child". So now I was lusting in my heart. That settles it. James Dobson is bad...
  • Where, O' Where, Have My Essayists Gone?

    Jay Tea, over at Wizbang , is getting some attention for a silly post wondering why the right holds all the intellectual firepower in the blogs. I went to some of the "thinkers" he mentions and found, not rigorous thought, but remarkable word counts. Fair enough. Dylan offered him some left-wing thinkers (a list on which he kindly included me), but Jay Tea, in his comments , was non-plussed. None of us wrote long enough pieces for him. I would caution, as Jesse has, that length is no substitute for thought, but if what Jay Tea wants are lengthy essays, I figure a few others might also be in the market for a prose stylist. So here are a few I know of:
  • Screw Me? Screw You!

    Jack Shafer dives deep into a Pew Report and surfaces, gasping, with this self-contradictory tidbit: Over the last two decades, the Pew people have plotted a steady decline in the credibility of newspapers among its survey respondents. In 1985, 84 percent said they could believe most of what they read in their daily newspaper, but by 2004 that number was down to 54 percent....Over nearly the same interval, survey respondents gave consistently favorable marks to their own daily newspaper! In 1984, 88 percent of those familiar enough with a daily newspaper to give it a rating gave it a favorable grade. In 2005, 80 percent still did. Decades of Republican attacks have done a Dirty Harry on the abstract concept of journalistic credibility, but they haven't done much at all to pry Americans off of their daily newspapers, to get them away from the television, to rip the radios from their cars. NPR has 20 million listeners, Fox News, for all its success, is a joke compared to the audience...
  • Tough Times for Liberals

    Ouch, they've really got us dead-to-rights .
  • And We're Sure Andy Kaufman is Dead?

    I just want to make sure I'm getting this right: The New York Times really has given a regular perch to a guy who thinks we should accept global warming because it'll increase ecotourism to the Arctic, right? This isn't some sort of metacolumn, or parody spot, or ill-directed attempt to eat in on The Onion's audience, at least so far as we know? At least so far as we know. I'm sticking with that.
  • We Don't Believe

    QandO's got an interesting table on evolution beliefs by party affiliation. Turns out 9% of Republicans believe in evolution without God, while 16% of Democrats and 14% of Independents feel similarly. 23% of Republicans are fans of intelligent design, as are 28% of Democrats and Independents. 66% of Republicans are creationists, while 51% of Democrats and Independents are. Huh. So Republicans are substantially more creationist than Democrats and Independents, but the difference is between a bare majority and a large majority. Not the most heartening of news. QandO says the President is reflecting mainstream opinion. True enough. But that's no excuse. Leaders should lead, not follow, and they should consider it important that the countries they run have some respect for science and evidence, as those two tend to fuel the global economy. Americans can believe what they want, but with Republicans doing their damndest to discredit everything from biological science to climatological...
  • In Which Your Faithful Narrator Engages in a Bit of Gallows Humor

    This is fairly good news: we seem to have created a vaccine for Avian Bird Flu. Huzzah! Now all I have to worry about are super volcanoes under Yellowstone , nuclear/biological/chemical terrorism when I move to DC, incurable illnesses, mad cow disease, plane crashes and car accidents, lighting strikes, that massive earthquake LA's supposedly due for, household accidents, being drafted into a calamitous war with Iran, asteroid impact, and some miscellaneous disasters I'm forgetting. I'm off to curl up in a corner now.
  • GM Begs

    The best part of the unshockingly bold crony-captialism Matt ferrets out is that it won't work. GM is suffering from a cash flow problem in the same way I'm suffering from old age arthritis: it isn't. The company is still paying a stock dividend, their CEO still got a $2.5 million bonus this year, and they've got $20 billion in on-hand cash. The company's got money, the problem is nobody buys their cars. And that's not because of retiree health care costs or unions, it's because they make poor-quality automobiles that are totally unsuited for today's gas prices. So GM, I'm sure, can get Congess to bail them out. But it won't do them any good. GM's problem isn't in their bank account, it's in their product line. Pumping up the former won't do them a damn bit of good; it's the latter that needs an overhaul. And they're going to have a hard time doing that with a furious workforce and congressional oversight. Reacting with cries for help, as they are, is so wholly pathetic, so obviously...
  • Hillary Gets It?

    Who'd have thought the Democratic politician to best deal with Southern resentment and insecurity might be... Hillary ? Upstate New York, the state's Republican stronghold, is an area accustomed to being neglected in favor of the more populous downstate region. But Clinton has paid it special attention. She once persuaded dozens of New York City chefs, restaurant owners and wine retailers to join her on a bus tour of upstate wineries and enjoy a four-course meal featuring New York produce. She recruited investment bankers and the head of EBay to help arrange for rural small-business owners to learn how to use the online auction site to sell their products. She instituted an annual "farm day" reception in Washington to display the state's produce, including apples, oysters and wine. Not bad. Very smart, actually. And pretty damn applicable. Hillary, by virtue of being a walking spotlight whose New York tenure was assumed to be the simple result of an affection for the Upper West Side,...

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