Archive

  • David Brooks Writes a Column

    It's been a bad week for David Brooks . The guy he made into Patio Man isn't returning his calls, his last column got widely mocked, and, to top it all off, F'in Deep Throat was revealed. Just once, it would've been nice if the right could've acted like rational human beings, given the guy a pat on the back, a book contract, and let the whole thing die. It's not as if Nixon is running for reelection. But nooooo, they had to trot out every slime bucket Felt sent on a perp walk to tar the 90-year old stroke victim. And now he, David Brooks, was somehow responsible for advancing the ball on this Watergate backlash. Oy. But David prides himself on finding alleyways, shortcuts, sidepaths that let him hold the party line without appearing a mouth-breathing troglodyte. But it was usually easier than this. Taxes, terrorism, even Terry Schiavo, those all had easy ways out. But W. Mark Felt? The guy's senile! Whatever David wrote the bloggers were going to--wait a second. Inspiration hits. It's...
  • The Plan for 2006

    Huh. I'd had no idea how bad Chris Cox is. Turns out he really, really, blows . At the same time, you have to admire Bush's audacity in nominating Congress's foremost defender of corporate abuses to head the commission dedicated to curbing them. Remarkably ballsy stuff. This, of course, happens to be Bush's modus operandi -- you remember John Bolton, right? And you remember that Daily Show where the nomination of John Bolton was analyzed for meaning and the message turned out to be that George W. Bush does indeed have gigantic testicles. Huge balls. Massive cojones . For him, proving that seems to have become the main attraction of office. Not much left to do on the foreign war front, just daily drudgery on Iraq. Not much to do on Social Security, that got stopped up right quick. Not much to do really anywhere, so why not nominate the craziest, most unsuitable nominees imaginable and see if he can pass them? Bush is approaching politics like the kid who spends his spare time darting...
  • By The Way

    Season 4 of Coupling isn't nearly as bad as you all led me to believe. It's not stunningly good, but it's certainly enjoyable.
  • Competing Truths

    Speaking of Miller, Armando's post on him, which led Atrios to award Miller "wanker of the day", seems wrongheaded to me. Armando flays Miller for being so faux-naive as to lament that Americans are no longer persuadable by facts without laying all blame on a spineless, whiny media. As evidence, he brings up Okrent, references Miller's tic of crucifying the Republicans and giving Democrats a token criticism for good measure, and so on. To me, this all seems pretty wrongheaded. When, exactly, was the media a truth-seeking missile? When were they honest and wholly aware of policy specifics? And did we agree with them then? Because I have a sneaking suspicion that the media we desire wouldn't be much closer to a media we like. When the left, myself included, imagines this platonic press corps, I think they've got something like themselves in mind, a nationwide operation that'll point out the right's lies and inconsistencies and apply the cynical interpretation that Bush so richly...
  • Persuading the Unpersuaded

    Matt Miller's meditation on persuasion is a good piece, and it's particularly relevant to us in the blogosphere. His basic point is that we don't live in a land of open-minded intellectuals conducting a constant search for new and better information with which to form arguments. Indeed, we live among a hardened populace where ideas, be they firmly based or intuitively arrived at, are most always protected in a transcendent mental realm that facts can't touch. That's why conservatives believe single payer health care can't work, why liberals have started decrying the infringement on states rights from NCLB, and why George W. Bush was considered better able to combat terror despite having failed to prevent an attack, failed to capture its financier, and weakened us by diverting energies towards Iraq. But the territory that Matt ignores is more important. It's not that all of America has couched their ideology in armor, it's just that the portion willing to swing, 20% or so of voters,...
  • Tiananmen Square

    Today is the 16th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre. I was barely conscious when the Chinese government decided to stop down on an incipient student protest, but the image that survived the confrontation has always stuck with me as the most powerful photo I've ever seen. So what better way to commemorate the day than to show the picture?
  • The FeMexican Conspiracy

    I've been reading some feminist theory lately, mainly Oaken's stuff about how to create a child-friendly nation, and it seems that the right's got a bad contradiction there. On the one hand, they're not willing to craft or pass the sort of legislation that'd make child-bearing easier for career-minded women, thus creating disincentives to large families and slowing down native population growth. On the other hand, large swaths of the American right are deeply unhappy about the ongoing "Mexicanization" of the country, and particularly with the growing ranks of immigrant families with high birth rates. Assuming they can't shutdown immigration -- and they can't -- wouldn't it make sense for them to support family-aimed legislation so American women would have more children and America's national "character" would be better preserved? Are they really so unhappy with women flooding the workplace, so dead-set against business regulation, or so wholly myopic that they can't support such...
  • Your Sudan Update

    Mark Goldberg's post on the evolving situation is Darfur is a must-read. So uh, go read .
  • Gulag Gulag Gulag

    EJ Dionne blasted Amnesty International in his column today for choosing the word "gulag" and letting the president obscure the issue with faux-indignation. Dionne misses the point. Amnesty's report didn't contain anything particularly new and stunning, at most it was a more comprehensive rundown of the situation than we've yet seen. Normally framed and delivered, it would've elicited a few articles, a quick flurry of blog posts, a McLellan obfuscation, and finally faded into obscurity. But the word gulag threw the Bush administration into such a tizzy that the news is still talking about the article, its contents, and whether or not America's actions have truly reached "gulag" levels. And that's why they used the word. Now TNR is writing snotty comparisons between Stalinist Russia and America, Republicans are loudly trying to discredit Amnesty, and lefty columnists are condemning the word choice but endorsing the content. On the bright side, they're all talking about Guantanamo. In...
  • The Charms of McCain

    I appreciate Greg's graphical proof that McCain is, as he constantly asserts, a conservative, but I think it's missing the point. Democrats don't like McCain on policy grounds. Indeed, except for fuel efficiency and campaign finance reform, a liberal would be hard-pressed to find anything approaching common cause with the successor to Barry Goldwater's seat. What they do like, and what moderates like, is McCain the person. They like the idea that someone could begin healing the partisan divide, that someone would enter office willing to listen to ideas from across the aisle, that someone would be willing to flout interest groups and ideological demands in order to work independently for what he believes to be the best interests of the country. That's why, when these bimonthly eruptions of posts proving McCain's a conservative occur, they seem so out of touch to me. Folks don't support McCain because of his ideology, they like him because of his demeanor, for what he represents in a...

Pages