Archive

  • Bits and Pieces

    • Before 9/11, all the Neocons could talk about was the coming confrontation with China and the need to stick steadfastly by our blood-buddy Taiwan. And, if 9/11 hadn't happened, yesterday might've been the first step towards that confrontation. With China passing a (largely redundant) law that authorizes attack if Taiwan seeks independence, a strong America acting in concert with the Neocon philosophy would have made this a showdown, hoping to send the red dragon slinking back to its cave. Not so. With our forces tied up in Iraq, perceptions of America's military might at their nadir, our economy entirely dependent on the whims of Asian bankers, our spending only sustainable through the kindness of Chinese bond-buyers, and our dollar convulsing every time an Asian leader opens his mouth, we've got less influence than a congressional Democrat. So China was testing us to some degree, proving to themselves that we'd recognize reality and let them move further towards regional hegemony...
  • Rock 'em Sock 'em Reid

    True to form -- and God I love saying that in this context -- Reid spent the day leading the Democrats in the fight to defeat "the Nuclear Option". The entire caucus assembled to hear him give the Democratic response (watch it here ), and they followed him to deliver a letter to Bill Frist. It was a powerful show of unity, and a warning that Democrats are unafraid to make a media circus of the issue. If I were Frist, I'd be a bit concerned right now. As Luntz should have already alerted him, nothing called "the nuclear option" is going to sound like a good idea to Americans. The image that Republicans will detonate the Senate if Bush doesn't get every last one of his judges approved is a nasty one, which they'll find out as soon as they began talking about it on the shows and seeing their poll numbers plummet. More to the point, I'd like to see Reid take a page out of Bob Dole's 1992 playbook and realize he's representing a majority. As many remember, Dole welcomed Clinton's election...
  • Pandagonette

    Amanda from Mousewords is assuming my old spot at Pandagon. She's a great choice for the site -- anyone who followed her excellent guest-blogging stint last week knows what a good job she's going to do. So, while I doubt I have too many readers who don't trawl Pandagon as well, those remaining outside the overlap should head on over .
  • Joe Don't Know

    I'm not the first to heap scorn on Marshall Wittman's latest pro-Joe post (see Matt and Atrios taking their shots as well), but I think I win the award for most puzzled by its assumptions. Shoving aside Wittman's weird desire to act as apologist for Joe, even at the expense of his own credibility (unlike Brad, I don't believe Wittman was played for a fool. I believe he thought he could play everyone else for fools), what possesses a perfectly astute centrist to say things like: What the Moose would like to know was when was the last time a lefty won the White House - Kennedy, LBJ, Carter, Clinton? None of them truly stirred the hearts of the lefty faithful. Perhaps JFK did, but he won running to the right of Nixon on foreign policy. In recent political memory, only hawks have won the Presidency whether they are Democrats or Republicans. The recent rage on the left is to heap scorn on Joe Lieberman. The Moose is honored to stand with Joe against the dogmatic idealogues of the...
  • Grieving the Pope

    Easterbrook's article on the hypocrisy of mourning Pope John Paul II's death reeks of the arrogance and too clever by half arguments usually seen among college freshmen just discovering atheism and the attendant joys of Biblical contradiction. Mourning is a rejection of Christian theology? Snort. When we mourn, we don't mourn for the dead. Unless they were young or cut down in a tragic, painful fashion, we almost always mourn for us. We who'll lack their presence, live with their memories, carry our guilt, leave unsaid words that needed to be spoken. Whether in heaven or oblivion, they're beyond the reach of earthly cares -- we mourn because we're not, and death is often hardest on the survivors. So c'mon Gregg -- none of this bull about grief being an inherent repudiation of Catholic doctrine. Missing someone terribly and believing in heaven are not mutually exclusive positions.
  • Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them

    Sayeth Brooks : Instead, many made demagogic speeches about Republican benefit cuts, as if it is possible to fix the system without benefit cuts. Many ginned up the familiar scare tactics designed to frighten the elderly. Isn't there an editor of some sort working at the New York Times ? Because this quote isn't a subjective opinion or an ideological argument, it's a plain lie. Even if Social Security's problems were orders of magnitude larger than they are, even if the Trustees' most pessimistic projections materialized and the Baby Boom proved even larger than we feared, we could, if we wanted, divert defense-spending and raise taxes. We could cut other programs and sell bonds. We could do all sorts of things that, while painful, would never ever require a reduction in benefits. And, as the situation actually is, the fiscal issues are minor and all we need is something simple and, for most Americans, painless, like rolling back Bush's top-bracket tax cuts or raising the payroll cap...
  • Last Goodbye

    Well, that's all for me, folks. (For real this time.) My general parting thoughts are already recorded here ; read them if so inclined. In the meantime, I want to thank Ezra again for being such a gracious and encouraging host, and everyone who's read/commented on/linked to my posts for really helping me sharpen and focus my thoughts. It was a great time. By the same token, I hope I've helped shed some non-zero amount of light on this crazy world of ours. If so, I'll be blogging away the rest of my days over at Politics and War . Y'all stop by and comment some time, y'hear? Incidentally, I'm sometimes asked why my blog is called "Politics and War." While it is about politics, and occasionally about war, the name actually comes from my favorite political quote: I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce and...
  • White Rice?

    This development seems to have eluded most of the blogosphere, but apparently our new public face in the Middle East looks like an angry transvestite . But seriously, folks. Here’s what worries me about this: During Bush’s first term, liberals generally lamented his effective neutering of Colin Powell. I can’t remember how many articles I read that contained the phrase "…Condoleezza Rice when he wants to send a serious message." With Rice at State, I think a lot of people assumed that the Secretary of State and The Person Bush Uses To Send Serious Messages would finally be the same person. So far, that has been the case, and the results have been…well, vastly improved. (Witness the 100% reduction in wars!) What worries me about Hughes is that she could undo this synergy. By all accounts, Bush and Rice are close, but Bush and Hughes are closer. And as far as I can tell, the job to which Hughes has been appointed is explicitly about sending messages, in a region of the world where...
  • MD Senate: Kweisi For You

    As I suspected, Kweisi Mfume’s hat is in the ring . I have to say, even if Steele runs for and wins the GOP nomination, this may not be the old-school/new-school fight I’d been hoping for. Mfume’s opening salvos are distinctly Obamaesque: "My goal is to give a new voice to the issues that affect every-day working men and working women and the families that they are a part of," Mfume said during a late morning press conference in a lounge at Camden Yards, where he was joined by five of his six sons. … He said his campaign would focus on "overcrowded and ill-equipped schools," health-care costs and disparities and fighting "low expectations" for some youths. I am officially pleased. I like Mfume a lot, and in a race where the Democrat is a heavyish favorite anyway, this kind of rhetoric should make him more than competetive. - Daniel A. Munz
  • Use/Mention and the War on Secularism

    Commenter Boethius asks : "Science classes might not need the story about "the two naked kids with the apple" but how about literature classes?" This is actually something I've wondered about for a while. Suppose for a moment that some monolithic "The Left" and "The Right" got together, and The Left proposed a deal: Creationism/ID would be kept out of science curricula, but in exchange, every literature curriculum would be modified to include extensive study of the Bible. Personally, I'd be amenable to this. The Bible is, after all, probably the most important and influential text in the history of Western civilization. My preference would be for additional study of the Torah (i.e. not just the New Testament), Qur'an, and other religious texts, but let’s say for a moment that those aren’t dealbreakers. Would The Right take the deal? My instinct is "No," and here’s why. I, like Ezra , am no Matt Yglesias. But I do dabble in enough philosophy to be familiar with something called the use...

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