Archive

  • If GM Goes

    Rare as it may be, Tom Friedman's got it right today. If GM does go down the toilet, and if Toyota does step forward with the plunger, it'd be a good thing for us all. Pushing Toyota's hybrid technology into all manner of GM vehicles, arming all the GM brands with fuel-efficient engines, the end result would be wonderful for our dependence of oil. On the other hand, it'd be reallty bad for universal health care as GM is the most powerful and important company begging for relief, and if they leave the scene, so will a lot of the business support. So in that way, GM sets liberal priorities at war. But as Kevin notes, guaranteeing business support is pretty tricky, so we'd probably be better off not worrying about it.
  • Cut and Run

    I'm enormously disturbed to hear that the GOP is looking for an exit strategy on Social Security. This sort of abandonment of Social Security could let it fall to AARP. Indeed, a reverse domino effect could take place, as liberal pressure groups sense weakness, judge the administration a paper tiger unwilling to take electoral casualties, and begin pushing for a massive expansion of the welfare state. First Social Security, tomorrow the minimum wage, Monday universal day care, and next month, single-payer. The thought makes me shudder. Moreover, this essential willingness to abandon our nation's pension programs to those who seek to perpetuate our way of life proves the essential lack of seriousness conservatives bring to domestic policy. All of us who understand that Social Security is, as President Bush said, the foremost threat to our national economy realize that his absence of leadership on the issue betrays a willingness to abandon the country's best interest in pursuit of...
  • I Am Done With Finals

    And that's a fact. Ask me about Rawls! Go on, ask me!* * Questions will not be answered.
  • The Reality-Based War on Terror

    This post of Kathryn-Jean Lopez's has been nagging at me for the last few days. It's a response to a New York Times op-ed by Peter Bergen, which argues, in short, that the widespread worry over madrassas is really misplaced -- those who've attacked us haven't been poorly educated automatons with no skills save massive Qur'anic recall, rather, we've been hit by a succession of college graduates, of engineers, of highly educated Arab men with job prospects and the background to "know better". Thus, concludes Bergen, this isn't a question of funding literacy, it's a question of stopping those with the desire and, crucially, the ability to do us harm. Lopez dismisses this with 20 catty words of snark. Why? Why is she fixated on the hate that madrassas may or may not breed? She's certainly not concerned with the resentment the French might harbor towards us. No, it's just Arab anger that bugs her. This seems to represent a fundamental break in how liberals and conservatives view terrorism...
  • Me and Osama, United Against Global Warming

    Ricky West is usually one of the good guys. Republican, but one of the good guys. So what's he talking about here? “I don’t hate America, I hate what the right-wing/Bush has done to America” – two words: Shut. Up. If you hate what your political opponents have done to America, then that means that there are things about America that you hate, which opens up the floodgates for the item above. And no mamby-pamby stuff like saying that because of the Bush tax-cut there would be an increase in “poverty” or “homelessness” qualify…we’re all against bad things. If you hate the policies of the United States, then I suggest that you discuss the issues with your intellectual brothers in arms, Al Qaeda. Huh? I hate that our government tried to interfere in the Schiavo case because a bunch of religious extremists pull their strings, I hate that we're trying to change the constitution to ensure gays can't codify their relationships the same way everyone else can, I hate that we're picking our...
  • Death to the Editorial!

    I agree with just about every word in Tim Noah's argument to end the editorial page. Take the damn thing out back and shoot it, it's utterly useless. As a rhetorical form, editorials are dull, cautious, plodding, poorly-written, and choking on their own perceived authority. They rarely add anything to the paper, instead stealing space that could be used for riskier, more vibrant op-eds. If Kinsley really wants to go interactive, having an editorial wiki isn't the way to do it. Opening the page up for reader submitted op-eds -- like letters to the editor, but longer and focused on issues of importance to the community -- would be a much better and more engaging move. The left side of the op-ed page, then, could be on local issues and by local authors and the right side can continue opining on matters of national and international import. It'd be much more interesting
  • 08 Fantasies

    EJ Dionne's column today strikes me as pretty silly. A McCain/Jeb ticket, though probably attractive to a few folks out there, isn't really worth 800 words gaming it out. Not in a world where, you know, there are real things that are actually happening. And conceptual critique aside, Jeb Bush doesn't lift McCain's overriding weakness: the primary. If McCain can get the nomination, the election will be run on his terms, he'll not need a Bush to pull it out. If he pulls out the primary, expect Hagel or Lindsey Graham to be joining him on that stage, not Jeb. I guess Dionne might be imagining a scenario where Jeb is announced as his Veep pick before the caucuses, but such an obvious attempt by the Bush family to stack this election in advance would look too dynastic, too hungry. It'd create a deep and quick backlash. Remember the criticism after Gore's endorsement? Imagine it times a thousand. Plus, if Jeb does decide to join the ticket, Democrats always have one more card they can play...
  • But What Have You Done For Me Lately?

    Kevin's post on the economic appeal of Democrats makes some points that should get wider play. Responding to the current argument that the South votes against their economic self-interest when pulling the lever for Republicans, Kevin asks what, exactly, we're giving them that makes voting right such a flagrant contradiction to their self-interest. Good point. As he notes, Democrats don't promise much of anything in the immediate term. Drug reimportation from Canada, maybe, A generalized economic view that's more centered on helping the poor, certainly. But the poor vote for us! It's at $23,000 a year that whites start voting Republican. Those folks don't think they're poor, they think they're middle class. And they further think that the Democratic vantage point on helping the poor is probably code for more money to indigent blacks. At least Republicans have tax cuts. Part of the problem is that there's not much left for Democrats to promise. Better unemployment insurance, sure, but...
  • Too Good Not to Quote

    The Medium Lobster does global warming: Yesterday the New York Times revealed that a former lobbyist for the American Petroleum Institute and current chief of staff for the White House Council on Environmental Quality had made substantial edits to a series of reports on climate change in order to play down links between greenhouse gases and global warming. The usual leftist quarters are fired up again, calling for America to join a veritable science jihad, worshiping at the altar of fact when we've yet to hear what fiction has to say about the situation. One can't be too careful when deliberating over the shifting and byzantine web of confusion and doubt that is so-called "climate" "change." Whom should we believe: the unruly mob of every reputable climatologist on the planet, or the selfless sages at Exxon-Mobil? Uncertainty abounds, even among higher beings like the Medium Lobster. We must examine all sides of the issue, take input from all corners: from the side of science, and...
  • Make Some Noise

    Mukhtaran Bibi is under arrest . You remember her, in a world of Jackos and Rumsfelds and celebrity relationships and deified presidents, Bibi is an actual hero, a Mandela-esque story of courage and forgiveness. She's a Pakistani women whose brother committed a crime and, under the barbaric codes sometimes enforced in rural Pakistan, was condemned to public, forced gang rape to atone for him. When the four men had finished raping her, she was forced to walk home, nearly nude, while hundreds of onlookers laughed and jeered. She was supposed to die. If all had gone as planned, she would've grabbed a knife and slit her throat, or maybe her wrists. She would've accepted that she had been sacrificed for a male, that it was more than a fair trade, and that no one could move on until the last spark of life had vanished behind her eyes. And she would've hurried up and and finished the affair. All did not go as planned. The knives stayed in the drawer. Her nude body found clothes. She...

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