Archive

  • How Can You Live for 50 Years ...

    by Pepper ... and leave no trace of your existence? John G. Roberts, I'm talking to you. How did you do it? How did you set it up so that all we have to know about you is a stack of musty documents from the Reagan era? In fact, that's one of the questions I'd like our senators to ask of Roberts at the hearings. Even the Right has to dig way back to gain insight on this guy. Guy Taylor at the Washington Times writes a fanboy-style portrait of the girl-fearing Roberts ... back when he was in high school.
  • On Roberts

    This piece of Jeanne's , (via Kevin ) on Roberts and women strikes me as exactly right. It's worth prefacing it with the disclaimer that the 20-some year old opinions and character traits of a brash young lawyer may not be the same ones held by the older, hopefully wiser, John Roberts who's actually up for nomination. And it's certainly true that you could look two years back in my writings and find plenty I disagree with and would be fairly ashamed of today. But the truth is, Roberts is a tabula rasa , we just don't know. We're mining what he wrote in the 80's because there's so shockingly little he's penned independently since then. In the absence of evidence, all we've got is speculation and telepathy. If only 1-800-Psychics hadn't gone out of business... With information as lacking as it is, if Democrats want to strike an open-minded, conciliatory tone at the hearings, that's fine, they can use whatever adjectives or qualifiers they want. But it's really imperative that their...
  • One Small Step for Readers, One Giant Leap For Vending Machines...

    France has now debuted vending machines for books. Awesome. This means we're one step closer to the future of books .
  • We Don't Do Perfect

    Matt, in a post about how Kevin Drum echoes his thinking on Iraq, pens a terrific explanation of where I've landed in recent months: That said, I've sort of been shifting away from the "had no chance of working even if it had been competently executed" view in favor of a more sophisticated one. Here's how I would put it. In Iceland, they often need to close a road or two to traffic because it's too dangerous. That doesn't mean it would be literally impossible to drive safely across it. If you drove perfectly, you could probably make it. But the road is closed precisely because it's so rare for someone to drive perfectly in difficult conditions. A dangerous undertaking that can only be done successfully if you never make a mistake, is something you ought to avoid doing. After all, it's not as if the United States won the second world war, or the civil war, because our strategy was flawlessly executed. There were plenty of mistakes and errors along the way. There are always mistakes and...
  • Cohen's Column

    Paul Krugman, in a column on Ohio's voting irregularities, says: But few Americans have heard these facts. Perhaps journalists have felt that it would be divisive to cast doubt on the Bush administration's legitimacy. If so, their tender concern for the nation's feelings has gone for naught: Cindy Sheehan's supporters are camped in Crawford, and America is more bitterly divided than ever. I like that "tender concern for the nation's feelings" line. Not because of it's context in the Krugman column, but because of its applicability to one of Richard Cohen's. After Digby gave it an offhand reference the other day, a friend with Nexis access dug up and sent me the Cohen piece he was referencing. And, honestly, it's worse than you can imagine. I'm going to reproduce it below the fold, and I highly recommend you make the jump. The degree to which our pundits sold us out was pretty amazing. While reading, see if you can imagine George Will or David Brooks putting the same sort of column-...
  • What Is Success?

    So here's my question for those who oppose conditional withdrawal from Iraq: what is success? We're there now, we will, someday in the future, not be there. What is gained through prolonging the interim period? All I ever hear is that we must "finish the job", "win the peace", "not cut and run", and do a variety of other platitudinous things that don't tell me anything. So when is the job finished? When is the peace won? Do you think we'll somehow crush the insurgency, all evidence of the last few years to the contrary? Will Iraq solve its ethnic conflicts if the US just looks over its shoulder long enough? Assuming we don't set conditions for withdrawal and just remain indefinitely, what are we looking for that'll allow us to wake up one day, judge the war a success, and mosey on back home to ticket tape parades? This is a serious question. And I'd like some serious, thoughtful answers. I don't want to hear from withdrawal supporters telling me how hopeless the situation is, I want...
  • More Newt

    So long as I'm talking Gingrich (see next post), I love this quote from his former press secretary Lee Howell: There is the Newt Gingrich who is intellectual, appealing, and fun to be with. And there is the Newt Gingrich who's a bloodthirsty partisan who'd just as soon cut your guts out as look at you. And who, very candidly, is mean, mean as hell. Newt nostalgia mostly turns on memories of the first guy, the eccentric ideologue who loved dinosaurs, wrote alternative history novels, thought we should blast handicapped folks into space, lived for technology, and was a general cross between a batty poli-sci professor and a 10-year-old. That's the Newt who's been on display since 1998 (save for a mostly-forgotten moment when he basically accused Colin Powell of treason). The other guy, the guy who said the Republican party's problem was a lack of nastiness, who said "Democrats were the enemy of normal people everywhere", who said that following the Democratic foreign policy would mean "...
  • The Party of Gingrich

    The fun thing about writing articles is you get to bury into a topic you never thought much about before. I'm penning a piece on Gingrich, and so I'm deep into everything the guy's written, said, or had written or said about him. Interesting stuff. And some quotes are just too good to pass on, so here's one for you. This comes from Newt's apologetic, post-fall memoir, Lessons Learned the Hard Way : For us Republicans in Congress, one of the most impressive aspects of this assault was the way Democratic activists in the House and Senate could be counted on to march in lockstep with it. The Democratic Party, of course, is much more of a political machine than the Republican Party. Those members of the House who had switched from the Democratic Caucus to the Republican Congress -- there have been something like a dozen of them -- kept remarking how surprising they found the lack of groupthink and intimidation [to be]. This, of course, was right after hundreds of Democrats had bailed on...
  • Check That Box

    As I've been saying, what we need is a serious conversation about how to win the war in Iraq. And the place to find that is Fafblog ! Well Giblets can end it all, and pretty damn fast. He has all he needs to end the war right now: an extra hundred thousand troops or so he intends to send to win the war. Where did he get them, you ask? Simple - for Giblets, at least. He got them with the power of imagination. Yes, even now Giblets is searching his mighty mind for imaginary recruits and within one week expects to crush the insurgency with two thousand armored leprechauns, eight battalions of snuffalupagi, six divisions of heffalumps and the 101st Airborne Oozle Brigade! Guided by the unmatched tactical genius of Mr. Squigglesworth, Giblets's six-armed tap-dancing purple space squid and Secretary of Pretense, Operation: Wishful Thinking cannot fail! And if it does, Giblets will merely declare an Opposite Day. Losing IS winning in pretend! Do you doubt the genius of Giblets? That is...
  • Flatter For Whom?

    Via Doug Ireland , this study debunking the connection between economic liberalization and political liberalization is really interesting stuff: Economic growth has traditionally been thought to promote democratization by making strategic coordination easier, as communications technology improves, news media become more diverse and the citizenry more educated. But in recent years some savvy regimes have learned how to cut the cord between growth and strategic coordination, allowing the former without having to worry about the latter. Their trick is to ration carefully the subset of public goods that facilitate political coordination, while investing in others that are essential to economic growth. The "coordination goods" that they need to worry about consist of things such as political and civil rights, press freedom and access to higher education. "Standard public goods" include public transportation, primary and secondary education, and public health; all of which contribute to...

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