Archive

  • We're Going Backwards

    Sandra Day O'Connor was the first female to ever serve on the Supreme Court. So what a sad commentary on the country's recent direction that the primary problems with her male replacement all orbit around his attitude towards women. He's evinced an irritation towards feminism, a dismissive attitude towards gender inequalities, and an abiding hostility to potential solutions. He is, in essence, exactly the sort of prestigious, prominent, respected lawyer whose attitudes and counsel made it so Sandra Day O'Connor couldn't get hired out of law school and others of her gender found their talents wasted and underused. My how far we came, and Christ how far we've fallen.
  • The Incredible Shrinking President

    Bush has fallen below 40% in the latest ARG poll, tumbling all the way down to the mid-30's. As Garance says , that likely means we've reached a sort of tipping point, with most everyone but hard Republicans fed up and finished with our hapless chief executive. Was it Sheehan? Was it Iraq? My guess, actually, is that it's his vacation. If the guy can't be bothered to remain at work while his various initiatives explode around us, he doesn't deserve our support. For comparison, it's interesting to note that Clinton's second-term approval ratings never dropped below 40%. Not once. None of this, of course, matters very much electorally. George W. Bush will not be running for President in 2008, and those who fight to succeed him will, to varying degrees, attempt to distance themselves from his legacy in order to carve out an independent image. What does matter is that Bush's plummeting approval ratings will force his successors to flee very far indeed, which may either leave to a true...
  • Come Again?

    This is the sort of thing that really loses you the moral high ground. From Twisty on Dr. B's blog: Chick blames patriarchy. Dude perceives chick speaking mind, believes life to be in danger. Dude would ordinarily attempt control of mind-speaking chick via symbolic rape à la classic “you just need a good fuck” response, but remembers new kind of snappy put-down he’s been seeing on dude-centric blogs with erection-shaped logos written by date-rapist college sophomores. Dude attempts to neutralize dangerous chick threat by sardonically impugning chick’s post as parody. Sorry, but what? Exactly which blogs are written by confirmed date rapists? And how do we know commentors who go after feminists, no matter how annoying their approach may be, are taking orders from some central site filled with phallus-obsessed sexual harassers? You want to go after chauvinistic guys for stereotyping/demeaning women and being general assholes, get to it. But assuming worse stereotypes about them than...
  • Russ Makes Sense

    I think this exchange between [host] David Gregory and Russ Feingold on this week's Meet the Press does a very good job of exposing the basic incoherence of the withdrawal-means-the-terrorists-have-already-won position: MR. GREGORY: Not only has the president said that any kind of deadline for the withdrawal of U.S. troops is a mistake, but so have prominent members of your own party... Senator Hillary Clinton this February, the headline: "Hillary Rejects Deadline." "I don't think we should be setting a deadline. ...That just gives a green light to the insurgents and the terrorists, that if they just wait us out they can basically have the country. It's not in our interest, given the sacrifices we have made." SEN. FEINGOLD: Well, of course, I haven't proposed a deadline. But, you know, the Democrats are making the same mistake they made in 2002, to let the administration intimidate them into not opposing this war, when so many of us knew it wasn't a good idea. And same thing with this...
  • More Frist Fumbles

    Poor Bill Frist's inept constituency-chasin' only gets worse. After sticking a dagger in his medical dignity by offering a (totally wrong) telediagnosis of Terry Schiavo, he tried to walk the damage back by supporting stem cell research. Criticism from his friends on the Christian Right, however, shivered the poor doctor's spine, and in a vain attempt to be asked back to Dobson's pulpit, he's loudly, futilely proclaiming his support for Intelligent Design in schools. The first response is that the supposedly moderate leader of the Senate is taking a position so nutty that even Rick Santorum won't endorse it. "Bill Frist: Crazier Than Santorum!" just isn't the sort of reputation one wants to have. The second, though, is pity. Bill Frist wants to be President. He's not going to be. He's no titan of the Senate whose entrance will clear the field, no national figure whose very name gets independents nodding in coffee shops, no regional hero who'll have a clear set of primaries to dominate...
  • Points of Contention

    By Ezra I've not been terribly pleased with the press's coverage of the Iraqi constitution delays, so tonight I did a think tank trawl trying to find something better. Best article? Nathan Brown's , over at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. According to him, It seems to be widely acknowledged, at least in the Iraqi press, that there are 18 points of contention. These are: 1. The name of Iraq [whether to describe it as federal and/or Islamic] 2. Religion [the precise formula by which the Islamic shari‘a will be described as a source of law] 3. The constituent elements of the Iraqi people [whether various groups in Iraqi society should be named and, if so, which ones] 4. Language [whether Kurdish should be co-equal with Arabic or official only in the Kurdish region; the status of other languages] 5. Identity of Iraq [whether and how Iraq is described as Arab and Islamic] 6. The marja‘iyya [Shi‘i religious authority and whether it should be mentioned in the constitution] 7...
  • Women Fall Through the Cracks in Iraq

    By Pepper Now that I'm seeing more and more conversation about withdrawal and withdrawal-lite, I want one thing to happen before the United States goes anywhere. I want women to have rights in Iraq, or at the very least for the constitution to be secular, but it looks like our administration is more than willing to throw that away in favor of having their constitution gift-wrapped and topped with a red ribbon. Yesterday, the Washington Post reported dismaying news that women's rights will be sacrificed in favor of polishing off the constitution: U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad spent Saturday shuttling among Iraqi political leaders ... Kurds also contend that provisions in the draft would allow Islamic clerics to serve on the high court, which would interpret the constitution. That would potentially subject marriage, divorce, inheritance and other civil matters to religious law and could harm women's rights, according to the Kurdish negotiators and some women's groups. Khalilzad...
  • Hitting Where It Hurts

    By Ezra So how about that Merck case ? Jurors deliberated more than 10 hours in Angleton, Texas, before awarding $24.4 million in actual damages and $229 million in punitive damages to the family of Robert Ernst. Shares of Merck, the third-largest U.S. drugmaker, fell to a six-month low, erasing $5.2 billion from the company's market value. $229 million in punitive? As my girlfriend noted, this was a white male jury in Texas, for them to side so harshly against the company means bad things a-brewing for the drug industry. The damages aware were almost unquestionably excessive which makes them seem more like an expression of anger at Big Pharma (and maybe Big Business in general, particularly post-Enron) than anything else. And while it'll be reduced on appeal, if the environment has shifted in such a way that juries simply want to stick it to corporations, the slew of suits in the offing will give them plenty of chances to do so.
  • What Falls In Between

    Shakes here... Standing out back behind my office, a cool breeze cut through the warm, heavy air, and for a moment I could smell mulberries, the scent of which always takes me back to a time that I recall without words or much meaning at all—when I was still a toddler, and the tiny house we lived in had a backyard with a big mulberry bush. The moment got me thinking about memory, which is, perhaps strangely, one of my favorite topics of directionless, daydreamy contemplation. From the moment I was old enough to look backwards at a definable period, and realized there seemed to be a particular feeling with which I associated it, I began to wonder occasionally how I would remember the time I was in at the moment. I’d even make predictions, but of course by the time I was looking backwards, the predictions had faded, not to be recaptured. I kicked off my sandals and walked barefoot in the grass while I smoked a cigarette, and I started to think about how I might recall this time, five or...
  • Withdrawal-lite

    By Ezra Brad Plumer, in answer to last week's question du jour, makes a fairly convincing case against timed withdrawal. Read it . It remains my position, though, that there's a softer form withdrawal can take, one that I think would carry most of its assumed benefits and few of a timetable's weaknesses. If we publicly disavowed bases, loudly proclaimed our intention to leave as soon as the Iraqi government and security forces was complete, and created a timed drawdown in troop strength, much of what we want withdrawal to prove might actually get across without a full abandonment of the project. We should, at this point, have a general idea of how quickly the Iraqi army is coming online. If we tagged the withdrawal of the first, say, 10,000 troops to the date when we thought there'd be 20,000 (or whatever) Iraqi troops to replace them, we could create the symbolic first step towards withdrawal without seriously losing troop strength in the country. If we then kept doing that, bit by...

Pages