• Thoughts on Hegemony

    Brad Plumer's got a characteristically thoughtful post on why Americans want to be the dominant global power. I mean, really, what good does it do us? And, from a logical standpoint, he's right. In fact, I'd much rather be a highly-developed country on the second-tier of world power (like Japan or France) than America. So long as you believe the global strongman to be basically benevolent -- and, odd bouts of French-hating and Japanophobia aside, we've proved ourselves such -- you're really in much better shape letting someone else worry about supporting a massive army, purchasing all the latest weapons technology, and dashing across the globe when the bat eagle signal dances across the sky. You can save your cash and create a nice, comfy social net, full of health care for all and long, paid vacations. But, if you're an American, and you've got even an ounce of nationalism in you, you'd rather see a world dominated by you than anyone else. You are good, you don't believe there to be...
  • Winning Without Gains

    So back to the Democracy Corps poll (no Josh Marshall-esque, never-ending cliffhangers here!). Let me go through the relevant results and then get to thoughts. The Republican party rates about 4% higher than we do, while Bill Clinton rates a smidge higher than the Republican party and George W clocks in at .4% above him (yes, I know we're leaving statistical significance here). Weirdly, when asked who they'll vote for in the 06 midterms, a Democrat or a Republican, respondents chose the good guys over the not-so-good, 46%-45%. When thinking about the presidential, Hillary beats Jeb, 50%-47%, and the hypothetical Bill v. George match-up gives Clinton the easy edge, 51%-46%. When asked what direction the country should be heading in, Bush's or something totally different, totally different won effortlessly, 52%-45%. From there we go to comparative polls, the graphs of which I posted here . They show, basically, that the Democrats win on specific domestic issues, but Republicans win on...
  • RIP Terry Schiavo

    God knows she deserves it. The NY Times editorial page puts it particularly well and, hopefully, dredges some meaning and beauty out of this whole sordid affair.
  • Apologies for Ruining Your Morning

    The new Democracy Corps memo just popped into my inbox and, despite the spin, it strikes me as bad news. It's not that Republicans are doing well so much as Democrats are doing really, really badly. And that's not individual Democrats -- Hillary easily beats Jeb (and 11% of Republicans cross lines for her) and Bill stomps all over George. But the party's image stinks. It's past midnight and I lack the energy to work up a full analysis now, but I'll leave you with these two graphs to noodle over; my comments to follow in the morning:
  • Enforce my Cheeseburger!

    Via Body and Soul , this 911 recording is hilarious . That's right, it's so funny that my recommendation wouldn't carry enough weight unless I italicized it. And, apropos of my earlier comments that Orange Count is not a sandbox full of spoiled rich kids, this all occurs -- sigh -- in the OC. Alright then, off you go. Update : If you've listened to the call, wiped the tears of mirth (mirth is an underused word, don't you think?) from your face, and are still looking for things to read, this post of Kevin's is mighty interesting.
  • Pyramids

    Bill Bradley's op-ed today is so spot-on it brought a tear to my eye. For awhile now, I've been incoherently expressing the difference between Republican and Democratic presidential candidates by saying that the former are defined by their party while the latter are forced to define their party. But Bradley hit the target much more accurately: To further the party's ideological and political goals, Republicans in the 1970's and 1980's built a comprehensive structure based on Powell's blueprint. Visualize that structure as a pyramid. You've probably heard some of this before, but let me run through it again. Big individual donors and large foundations - the Scaife family and Olin foundations, for instance - form the base of the pyramid. They finance conservative research centers like the Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute and the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, entities that make up the second level of the pyramid. The ideas these organizations develop are then pushed up to the...
  • Fugly Fun

    I think this might be my favorite blog ever.
  • DeLayicans

    Brad Plumer is so right on this it's hard to believe he's not been hired by the DCCC and given a corner office somewhere: Look, last year no one was offering Senate Democrats a chance to "wash their hands" of Tom Daschle. Quite the opposite—the phrase "Daschle Democrats" spread far and wide across the airwaves, during the big push to paint the entire minority party as one giant ball of pure, black-hearted obstructionism. It was dirty, it was lame, it was disgusting, but that's how the fucking game goes. *No one* gets out of here alive! Seriously, it's useless, entirely useless trying to turn Tom DeLay into a big lightning rod for all the outrage against the House's excesses these days. If that's what happens, he'll be purged in a minute's notice and then absolutely nothing will change. The GOP will just find someone else to do what DeLay does. Roy Blunt can do what DeLay does. The K Street stovepipe will still pump along. The rule-bending and committee-abusing will still go on. House...
  • Ideas of Cities

    Duncan is right that Orange County isn't the uber-wealthy playground that the eponymous TV show portrays it as. What most people think of when they picture the county is Newport Beach, an enormously affluent community by the beach. They might also imagine Laguna Beach, where Dncan lived, and Laguna Hills. What they're not imagining is Buena Park or Fountain Valley, blue collar areas experiencing major immigrant influxes. Neither are they giving much thought to Westminster (almost entirely Vietnamese) or Santa Ana, where the residents speak only Spanish. A similarly annoying phenomenon is at work in LA, where the word conjures up a specific stretch of Sunset Blvd. to most everyone. That the city possesses massive areas where immigrants pack themselves into little-regulated, little-noticed apartment buildings, has giant areas with a semi-suburban flavor seems unknown. Having dinner in the Ethiopian district and dessert in the Jewish area strikes people as the sort of thing you can only...
  • Who Wants a Sweet With the Wrapper On?

    Kristof's got a great column on the foolishness of the Bush administration's marriage-based AIDS prevention programs in Africa. Go read it.