• Blogospheres

    This week, the biggest blog on the left and one of the largest on the right decided to purge their comment threads of disruptive influences. Kos's smiting was aimed at conspiracy-theorist leftists who were blaming Blair and Bush for the London bombing. , for their purging part, is declared jihad on leftists in their comments. Enough has been said about the right's distaste for comments that I'll not waste your time by charging that trampled ground, but it's nevertheless interesting that one of the few prominent sites in the conservosphere consciously attempting to build community and foster discussion is rapidly lifting the drawbridge and ejecting liberals into the moat. I've got conservatives on my blog. I've got conservatives in my e-mail. And while it's not always pleasant to read their rebuttals and rejoinders, I've always figured it's part of the conversation. Why hasn't the right done the same? Matt thinks it's because of our parents. Atrios and Kos always had...
  • No More Polls?

    As Kevin notes , there are now more cell phone subscribers than landline subscribers in the US. My girlfriend and I are a good example -- two cells, no landline. The question, then, is how long before this starts violently skewing poll results. Pollsters are legally barred from calling cell phones. Cell phone users, to some degree or another, make up a different demographic profile than the rest of the country (skewed young and economically mobile), and may have different political opinions than the land users. This got a lot of attention in 2004 but, in the end, the polls turned out almost exactly right (indeed, those who harp on the exit polling forget that nearly every poll in the country got the results within the margin of error). As the country switches to cell phones, though, that won't last forever. So when's the tipping point?
  • So True

    Wolcott : Kevin Drum says he's going to let out a primal scream if one more commentator praises Londoners for their collective "stiff upper lip" in carrying on in the face of adversity. Me, I'm more of a groaner, though I appreciate British understatement and placid fortitude as much as anyone. The curious thing is that so many of the rightward bloggers and Fox Newswers who are hailing the Brits for their quiet stoicism and pluck don't seem to realize they're issuing an implicit rebuke to themselves and their fellow Americans. They're saying, in effect, "You've got to admire the Brits for showing calm and quiet perserverence after these explosions--they don't get all hysterical, overdramatic, and overreactive the way we Americans do." They don't seem to realize the example shown by Londoners might be a lesson to them, a model they might follow instead of playing laptop Pattons at full volume every time they feel a rousing post coming on.
  • The New Marriage

    You know, a lot's being made of Rick Santorum's new book, particularly the many parts where the good senator's pen slipped and wrote something honest. Most of those parts have to do with the great evils of feminism, of female career advancement, of two wage families, of modern life. But -- and deep breath here -- that's okay . Dobson and Robertson and Falwell and Bauer like to pin the tail on the homo when fulminating against marriage's enemies. But that's silly. Homosexuals don't threaten today's marriage, they simply codify the defeat of yesterday's. When Santorum slips and blames emancipated wives, he's actually being the most honest of the bunch. The fundamentalist conception of marriage as a duty demanded by God made perfect sense when it was an obligation imposed by society. Back then , partners were chosen for you, reproduction was required (the upper class would divorce the infertile, the lower class often only married the already-pregnant), and women were locked into the...
  • Fox vs. France

    Via Sam Rosenfeld , John Gibson turned in a column today that's the deranged spawn of mother ignorance and father idiocy, it's as uninformed and obviously incorrect as I've seen these things get: The bombings in London: This is why I thought the Brits should let the French have the Olympics (search) — let somebody else be worried about guys with backpack bombs for a while. But, all Thursday proved is that they come to get you anyway. And, by the way, they come and get their own too: So here's John Gibson's mental timeline of the bombings: July 6th: London gets the games. Yay London! July 6th, afternoon: A terrorist cell puts into action their plan to bomb whoever got the Olympic Games. They import materials, download train schedules, case drop-off points, and plan the attack. In 8 hours. July 7th, 8am: Bombs go off. Idiot. The bombs were timed to disrupt the G8 conference, not the Olympic announcement. Terrorist attacks can't change locale on a dime -- they need to be planned and...
  • 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...