• I Am a Building Block

    It's always nice to see someone take a piece you wrote and spin it into something much grander, more profound, and important. Pay attention to the last line, too: Lance is right .
  • Wave to Ideology

    Angelica asks : Why do libertarians and other free-trade cheerleaders feel the need to give CAFTA their (infinitely reluctant) backing when it is nothing more than a trojan horse bearing monopoly-extending intellectual property rules ignominiously rushed pass a dracula session in congress by bribing reluctant congressmen with porktastic protectionist measures that favor their home states? I wish someone would write a book on the total abdication of ideological responsibility on all sides of the spectrum. Welcome to 2005, politics is tone, partisanship is volume, extremism is aggressiveness. 2004's liberal hero was an ardent free trader who blocked gay marriage in his home state, wanted to add 40,000 troops to Iraq, had little patience for liberal social programs when they blew the deficit, who rejected public financing in Vermont, and had been a DLC golden child only years before. But Howard Dean stood up, spoke out, and became the great hope for progressives, the feared demon of the...
  • On Bolton, On Blitzer, On Cheney and Condi

    Bolton, as you no doubt know , just got himself a recess appointment. I tend to think this is excellent news for our effectiveness at the UN: not only will other countries look at our deranged ambassador with the loathing and hostility his comments so richly deserve, but they'll know he was such an extremist that our own Senate, nutty though it may be, never approved him. I'm sure he'll be plenty listened to. You know, or ignored, patronized, and sabotaged. Over on the right, James Joyner doesn't think this is such a hot idea either: This strikes me as a big mistake. For one thing, U.N. Ambassador is hardly of sufficient importance to justify thumbing Senate Democrats in the eye this way. For another, John Bolton is hardly Robert Bork. Indeed, Bolton may be a case that epitimizes why the filibuster is sometimes a good thing. One undertold story about Bush is that he sports a profound lack of respect for the autonomy and judgment of the institutions that comprise our government. Other...
  • Shit? Meet Fan.

    John Garang died yesterday in a helicopter crash. Mark Leon Goldberg has the implications : Grinnell College alumnus, University of Iowa–educated doctor of agricultural economics, and most recently vice president of Sudan’s National Unity Government John Garang died in a helicopter crash in southern Sudan over the weekend. The timing of his death could not have been worse. In January, Garang -- the long-time leader of the Christian and Animist rebels in South Sudan -- singed a peace deal with the Islamist government in Khartoum, effectively ending a 20-year civil war. Just a month ago the peace accord entered into force and Garang was installed as vice president of Sudan. ... Helicopters do crash, but when there’s a price on the head of a passenger reasonable people ought to ask whether there was any foul play at work. The most important task for the international community right now -- and especially for the United States, which has invested a great deal in the success of the peace...
  • Used Bookstores in LA

    Question for Los Angeles folk: anyone know a good, fairly large used bookstore in the city? I've got to sell a few tomes in advance of the DC move, and I;d like to do it somewhere with a decent selection. I've been kinda stymied in the search for a decent story, but there's gotta be at least one. Help on this would be much appreciated.
  • The Peculiar Institution

    The Claremont Review of Books , conservative though it is, is an interesting journal, particularly if you want a window into what Republican intellectuals are thinking and rationalizing. But this is a bit odd. Here's the last paragraph of Victor Davis Hanson's (sadly lame) essay on politicized universities: The signs of erosion on our campuses are undeniable, whether we examine declining test scores, spiraling costs, or college graduates' ignorance of basic facts and ideas. In response, or academic leadership is not talking about a more comprehensive curriculum, higher standards of academic accomplishment, or the critical need freely to debate important issues. Instead, it remains obsessed with the racial, ideological, and sexual spoils system called "diversity". Even as the airline industry was deregulated in the 1970s, and Wall Street now has come under long-overdue scrutiny, it is time for Americans, if we are to ensure our privileged future, to reexamine our era's politicized...
  • Sunday Music

    I got nothing, I've been podcasting Left, Right and Center all week. Did a segue into Le Tigre's self titled album and worked out to some old Eminem, but that's about it. What'choo got?
  • The Truth About The Truth About Hillary

    From Joe Queenan's review of The Truth About Hillary: What I am saying is that if Klein purposely set out to write the sleaziest, most derivative, most despicable political biography ever, he has failed both himself and his readers miserably. ''The Truth About Hillary'' is only about the 16th sleaziest book I have ever read. Though, in fairness to the author, reading creepy, cut-and-paste books is my hobby. Which isn't to say there's nothing of note in there. Ed Klein, you should know, has found himself a new angle: to my knowledge, Klein is the only journalist who has shed meaningful light on the extent to which her career has been shaped by friends, roommates, short-haired colleagues or rivals with weight problems. Monica Lewinsky is fat. Bill Clinton has long been a member of the clean-plate society. Evelyn Lieberman, the former White House deputy chief of staff, is reputed to be ''a little overweight.'' Mrs. Clinton herself has long battled a tendency to beef up, but in perhaps...
  • What is the Meaning of Life, Oh Gene?

    Lance Mannion writes : And that was Rodenberry’s most progressive idea. In the future he envisioned, everybody mattered. Everybody had an important job. Nobody was redundant. Nobody was a mere cog in the machine. What were all those people doing on the Enterprise, anyway? By the mid 1960s it was possible to see how computers would come to be able to do many jobs that people then did but do those jobs faster and more reliably and with fewer errors, with the bonus that the computers would not need to be paid. But that's not true, is it? I mean, what of all those ensigns who, every time they were thrown in with the landing party, quickly got phaser'd out of existence? They were human plot fodder, getting mulched up so viewers at home understood the gravity of the situation. I guess in that sense, they mattered, but it seems a rather crummy purpose in life. Hell, if meaning means I gotta get blasted by a Klingon, I'm all for giving my job to HAL.
  • Saturday Books

    David Brooks, Bobos in Paradise : As mentioned below, I'm really enjoying it. Yes, I know his examples sometimes don't hold water and his sociological brush is broad enough to use Australia as canvas, but it's still fun, he still has fascinating thougts and ideas, and he still brings a better, more incisive eye towards a certain subset of people than most anyone else writing about them. Other books of this sort suffer from an unrestrained contempt towards their subjects or a desire to lionize. Brooks, I think, likes living this life, but is nevertheless a bit ashamed at its inconsistencies and oddities, and the tone that that his conflicted indulgence results in is delightful. Since I'm a Bobo in good standing, I'm loving the book. Chris Matthews Kennedy and Nixon : Yeah, that Chris Matthews. Before he ran an inconsistent television show, he apparently wrote books. More surprising yet, they're pretty good. This one focuses on the troubled relationship between the two presidents when...