Archive

  • More AU?

    I've been meaning to comment on the expansion of the AU's peacekeeper force in Sudan for quite awhile, so here goes. Blogosphere commentary has broken along two lines: the Justin Logan pitch which says, basically, that this is much better handled as an intra-African matter, we should offer logistical support but not involve ourselves militarily, and thus the infusion of cash and increase in size of the AU's forces is the best of all possible worlds. In the blue trunks, however, is Brad "whiny little humanitarian" Plumer , who thinks the AU is reluctant to seriously involve themselves, unwilling to put forth the necessary numbers, and should be supported by a NATO deployment. Well color me a whiny little humanitarian. The AU's forces are almost comically inept, and I say only almost only because they often veer towards criminally inept instead. Their past failures are legion and their total unwillingness to act until long into the atrocities is woven into the fabric of any recent...
  • Tierney Time

    John Tierney , who lives in Manhattan, phones it in this morning with a tired juxtaposition of Laura Bush's comedy routine and liberal condescension towards red staters. To hear the Times token libertarian tell it, us Democrats are still trying to pick our jaws off the floor from Mrs. Bush's ability to tell a racy joke, and we're doing it because we believe folks in the red states don't tell racy jokes, think racy thoughts, or have racy relations. Tierney would be 1/3rd right, if he meant race relations. Instead, he's invented a whole new stereotype. If you could find me one single liberal who thought Bible thumpers lived lives of ascetic purity, I'd disown evolution. As it is, blue state irritation with red state "moral values" stems not from the beliefs, but from the hypocrisy therein. It's hard to respect a cultural backlash driven by the same folks clamoring for the culture. It's worse to be accused of impiety and religious ignorance by states whose safety nets are so ripped and...
  • Note to the Right

    Dear Outraged Conservatives, I've made an effort to ignore the "Pozen plan", figuring it beneath comment or, indeed, contempt. But since you've all chosen this moment to outflank us hypocritical liberals, here's a quick guide to why no one takes it seriously: When one of the most conservative presidents in history decides to take the crowning achievement of liberalism and make it more progressive, that looks like a trojan horse. And then, when most every Republican in the country jumps on a table and demands that the program stops being so darned regressive and giving so much to the rich, that's like the trojans all running down the ramp before their equine-shaped craft even gets in the gates. It's just impossible to take seriously, so stop demanding that we try -- it's making you look silly. Love, Ezra P.S -- The country ain't buying it either .
  • Gregg Easterbrook is Out of Touch

    Oh Gregg : Total global spending on this is now estimated at around $500 billion annually, more than the United States defense budget. Roughly two percent of global GDP is dedicated to this purpose. What is it? Parking, and I don't mean the kind done by giddy teenagers on country lanes. When asked for comment, the Fonz said "Heeeeyyyy", then turned to watch a leather jacketed Easterbrook on water skis jump over a shark pen. As for the looming crisis in parking spots, Easterbrook needs to find more pressing topics for his energies (may I suggest how George Bush will lead the world in addressing global warming? Wait, you did that . Twice .). Geographically compressed urban areas sometimes have a true shortage, but then they generally have excellent public transport making up the slack. Suburbia remains chock-full of lots while more dispersed cities, like Los Angeles, have areas of scarcity (though there's plenty of daytime parking on the 405...) and high parking costs. But even that's...
  • Frist's Lament

    Lost among Pat Robertson's quasi-endorsement of Rudy Giuliani for president and his insane comments on religious litmus tests for judges, Pat Robertson made another unexpected move last Sunday : He cut Bill Frist loose. Bill is a wonderfully compassionate human being. He is humanitarian. He goes on medical missions. He's a delightful person. I just don't see him as a future president. I think he's said he didn't want to run for president. Maybe I'm putting words in his mouth. Ouch. It'd be little wonder if the good Doctor began questioning why he was expending all this energy, capital, and poor press kowtowing to Robertson's agenda. But Frist, in his unfortunate way, was destined for this electoral purgatory. The Christian Right is, if nothing else, an authentic organization and they're going to push the candidates who excite them, not the one's who've been dutiful. That means Santorum, Owens, Allen, and even Giuliani can expect some troops, but the hapless majority leader is unlikely...
  • Responding to Democracy

    Wesley Clark's contribution to the Washington Monthly's Democracy in the Middle East forum is a great, great read, much better than the title made it sound. On one level, the essay is the surprisingly adept effort of a 2008 presidential candidate to account for hopefully signs in the Arab world. Clark does so by leveraging his Reaganite past and demanding humility from the Bush administration: The administration has generally responded to these openings by adding to the pressure, calling for withdrawal of Syrian forces and for democracy. But like the rooster who thinks his crowing caused the dawn, those who rule Washington today have a habit of taking credit for events of which they were in fact not the primary movers. Many of them have insisted, for instance, that the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 was largely the consequence of President Reagan's military policies. As a military officer at the time, and a Reagan supporter, I would be happy to give the Gipper that credit. In truth,...
  • Nominating Our Worst Nightmare

    When researching George Allen yesterday, I saw him regularly described as the Democrats' worst nightmare. Not so. Our worst nightmares aren't nominated in Republican primaries, but in our own. To understand that, a more critical look at John Kerry is in order. So for those who haven't absorbed Thomas Frank's latest 21-gun salute to populism , there's no time like the present. His election retrospective in the latest New York Review of Books is certainly one of the best I've seen, and even if he hits the same notes he always does, he's done a much better job constructing the rhythm to match the election's ebbs and flows. Frank has been marginalized as a single-idea commentator, a pundit whose work can be safely assumed sans reading. Not so. In fact, Frank's weakest area is, unfortunately, what everyone seems to focus on in his books and columns. His solution, that a renewed emphasis on class warfare -- a term I don't use pejoratively -- and protectionist populism will blunt the GOP's...
  • Gore 08?

    This isn't exactly a novel observation, but I'm pretty impressed by Gore's recent actions. The amount of liberal goodwill he gets bathed in every time he delivers a stemwinder under MoveOn's auspices is really quite impressive, particularly for a candidate so damned by faint progressive praise last time he ran. It's nothing less than a reinvention. Now, I don't know if Gore's thinking of running in 2008 -- I've heard some rumors for and some against -- but he'd start in a really interesting position: an established, mainstream, well-known candidate with a deep base among liberals and a reputation for saying what others only think. His work with MoveOn, his endorsement of Dean, and his sustained criticism of Bush would offer him some powerful fundraising opportunities out of the gate, and having captured most of the liberals willing to throw in with an establishment candidate, he'd be able to compete with Kerry, Clinton and Edwards for the rest of the primary electorate while freezing...
  • PBS: Fair, Balanced, and Funded

    Jesse , incensed by PBS's new effort to imbue their network with that "fair and balanced" goodness, is offering cookie-making robots to anyone able to force the media into "screw balance" week. Sounds like a plan. But before getting to the baking AIBO's, it's worth looking a nit closer at the PBS situation. Just like with Social Security, there is no crisis . NPR is not biased, PBS does not swing left. In an electorate where easy majorities believe their news channels want merely to gut punch some unlucky ideology, 55% believe PBS's programming is "fair and balanced", while 79% bestow the same dubious designation on NPR. Not only that, but public broadcasting has an 80% favorable rating and a majority consider PBS more trustworthy than ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, and CNN. So while liberal gremlins with "PBS" tattooed on their chest surely dance around Brent Bozell's head, the rest of the country -- you know, the folks Congress is supposed to be legislating for -- have happily resisted the...
  • Google Bomb Me

    Is there anyway to Google bomb my own site? When you search me on Google you get, in order, Brad DeLong talking about me, Pandagon, and my original blogspot site. This site doesn't show up for pages, I haven't even gone far enough through to find it. So is there any way to change that, to make it so searching my name will find my current home on the internets? I don't really know how Google works, but I've heard about metatags or something. Anyway, help appreciated. Update : The title was just a joke, though many thanks to those who actually did Google bomb me. Turns out Typepad was hiding the site from the google bots, and now, thanks to some intrepid html sleuths who helped out in comments, that's over with. You all rock.

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