• It's Not Fear

    This is a very weird pro-CAFTA argument by Daniel Drezner: For Democrats convinced that the Bush administration has pissed away U.S. soft power, answer me this question: what kind of a signal does the U.S. send to the rest of the world when its legislature says, in effect, "We won't ratify this deal because we're scared of six states that combined are smaller than the Czech economy"? Improved access to our markets remains one of the best incentives the U.S. has to proffer to the rest of the world. If we deny even hemispheric allies this benefit, what do you think the rest of the world will think? How peculiar. Either Dan hasn't actually read Democratic criticism of the bill or he's drawn radically wrong conclusions from what he's seen. Most Democrats -- at least those who normally support free trade agreements, and are thus making this one's life hard -- despise the human rights portions of the bill, the total abdication of the responsibility to use access to our markets as a carrot...
  • Proof!

    It's not that we didn't know this was happening, it's that until now, we couldn't prove it: A company indicted in a Texas campaign fundraising case says it was told that by giving a Tom DeLay political committee $25,000, company officials would get access to the U.S. House majority leader to influence legislation. In court documents, Westar Energy of Kansas says that to meet with Mr. DeLay in 2002, company officials "were told they needed to write a check for $25,000" to Texans for a Republican Majority, known as TRMPAC. It's the first time a company has said it donated to the Texas committee created by Mr. DeLay in exchange for a meeting and legislative help. The DeLay investigation is still dripping scandal. Good.
  • Democrats and Trade

    This is interesting. Brad Plumer crunches some numbers and finds: Let's look at some actual poll numbers, namely, the recent and massive Pew Press poll that divided voters up into different subgroups. On the question of whether trade agreements are "bad for the U.S." or "good for the U.S.," the only core Democratic constituency that's overwhelmingly in favor are "liberals," 50-44 percent. Needless to say, they're not in any danger of leaving the Democratic party. Meanwhile, the two other core Democratic groups—"Disadvantaged Dems" and "Conservative Democrats"—are much more tepid on trade agreements. More than anything else, this seems indicative of how the party now judges liberalism. Contemporary Democratic liberalism isn't much of a populist exercise: it's social liberalism, dovishness, and support for enhanced government intervention in the economy. It's not redistributive, it's not particularly focused on the worker, and it's not particularly responsive to their concerns. It's the...
  • What's This? Pride?

    Via Shakespeare's Sister , major props to Antonio Villaraigosa for demonstrating how to expertly deal with a terrorist attack. Municipal executives everywhere should take note.
  • The 2+Scalia Scenario

    Novak is reporting that Rehnquist will step down tomorrow morning, creating a two seat vacuum on the Court. That, as it happens, is the subject of a provocative article penned by Loyola Law professor Richard Hasen in today's TNR. Hasen argues that a double-retirement is the best liberals can hope for. Currently, Bush will have to replace O'Connor with, more likely than not, a non-Gonzales conservative* -- he owes the Christian Right too much. Democrats, then, would likely have to filibuster the nut he comes up with**. Nuclear option hits and who knows what happens, save unheard of partisan bitterness. A double-retirement is different, though. Gonzales goes up, but so does Luttig or McConnell. Indeed, I'll go one step farther and say Bush'll move Scalia to Chief Justice in addition to nominating a hardliner in order to quiet opposition to Gonzales. Democrats, feeling safe that the Court won't change, don't filibuster. Conservatives, getting Scalia and a favored son, don't shriek...
  • Someone Call David Horowitz!

    My professor for American politics is currently offering a favorable lecture on Bernard Goldberg and his "theories" on liberal media bias. Left wing academia indeed. Thank god for wireless internet. Update: Partial birth abortions were also thrown out by a state judge because they go against a woman's right to "life, liberty, and happiness". When you hear it that way, it sure sounds more liberal than "The Supreme Court wrote an opinion saying abortion regulations were illegal if they lacked an exemption for the health of the mother and this one did". There you go kids, you just got the difference between what liberals and conservatives hear on the judiciary. Update 2 : On the other hand, some kids in here are genuinely anti-American. Worse, it's in a stereotypical way. Insert trite lamentation about the future here.
  • Unlikely Reformers

    I generally try to shy away from large quotes, but this piece by Harold Meyerson on Republican efforts to pervert the McCain-Feingold Act to choke off sources of Democratic funding is too important not to publicize. More below the fold:
  • London, No More "Stan"

    London mayor Ken Livingstone : "I want to say one thing, specifically to the world today — this was not a terrorist attack against the mighty and the powerful, it was not aimed at presidents or prime ministers, it was aimed at ordinary, working-class Londoners, black and white, Muslim and Christian ... young and old … that isn't an ideology, it isn't even a perverted fate, it is an indiscriminate attempt at mass murder." "They seek to divide London, they seek Londoners to turn against each other ... this city of London is the greatest in the world because everybody lives side by side in harmony. Londoners will not be divided by this cowardly attack." London is a particularly symbolic ground for al Qaeda to attack. No other society on earth has been as open to Islamic immigration as England. Indeed, it was so willing to tolerate all manner of extremists that it earned the name "Londonistan". This, from Gilles Kepel's Jihad, makes the point well: On the issue of asylum, London and Paris...
  • Wonder What His Soul Looks Like Now?

    I'm with Edward : Putin's instant impulse to connect this tragedy with Chechnya and his demand that there not be "any double standards whatsoever in assessing bloody crimes similar to those carried out today in London” is a sickening response to the morning's attacks. The guy's a standard-issue autocrat desperate to achieve a veneer of democratic and moral legitimacy, and without actions that actually possess such qualities, he's consigned himself to asserting lame linkages between his transgressions and the Western World's troubles. What happened today was not carried out by all Muslim movements everywhere. It was the act of a single cell of a single organization attempting to prove it's not been broken. For Putin to pervert it before the dead are cold and counted is a pathetically transparent attempt to gain moral flexibility in boosting Chechnya's death toll. It's murder levied to legitimize killing, and Putin should be roundly condemned for it.
  • We're All Londoners Today

    At least 33, but almost certainly more, died amidst a series of coordinated bombings in Britain today. Al Qaeda has taken credit for the attack, and most think it was timed to coincide with the G8 Conference. The first bomb detonated at 8:51am, destroying a train in London's financial district. The second -- and deadliest -- bomb ripped through a tube train traveling between King's Cross and Russell Square at 8:56 am. At least 21 were killed. The next tore through a train as it entered Edgward Road station at 9:17am. The last, at 9:47am, mangled a double-decker bus. There's not a whole lot to say about this. Wordy paeans to our sorrow and sympathy are generally more about the writer than the event, and today, the event should remain in front. What should be said is that terrorism is not gone. Al Qaeda is not gone. America has been lucky to have escaped further attacks thus far, but there's little doubt that the future will bring more. As it is, our continuing distance from 9/11 has...