• Minutemen

    Can we spell recipe-for-total-fucking- disaster ? As impressed as I am by retired accountants forming militias to patrol the border, it's not exactly the best idea. The first time they meet with a coyote expedition and start shooting at the fleeing smugglers will be the last time the gangsters who run the coyote operations forget to bring heavy arsenals along for the journey.
  • Why National Security Matters

    Some friends and I went by SF MOMA this weekend, the idea being to soak up some culture and decompress from hectic weeks. But I'm not so good at turning off the political part of my brain, and so I found myself browsing the old newspapers strewn about Robert Goder's superb installation . One of them had an Anthony Lewis op-ed from the 1992 GOP Convention that I thought was good enough to Nexis and excerpt here: "GOP Needs a Kremlin to Bash," the lead headline in The Chicago Tribune said the day before the convention. It neatly stated the seeming dilemma of a Republican Party that for 40 years had made a theme of denouncing the Democrats as soft on Communism. But the collapse of the Soviet Union did not faze Pat Buchanan, Pat Robertson or the others who speak for the Republican Party today. They bashed the un-Christian and the un-straight. They bashed Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton. And they even managed to flog the Red menace. If the Democrats won this election, Republican chairman...
  • Set Phasers on Mock

    Can I just say how excited I am to read the critiques of this " wherefore art the female intellectuals " piece? It's going to be great fun.
  • Who Triangulates?

    Over at The Washington Post, Dan Balz has a slightly alarmist article on the leftward drift that Dean's chairmanship, and the party's new reliance on grassroots donors, might provoke. Standard stuf, to be sure, but he makes an interesting strategic point midway through: As Dean takes the helm as party chairman, Democrats now face a competition between what might be called the Dean model and the Clinton model, between confrontation and triangulation. This amounts to a contest between a bold reassertion of the party's traditional philosophy that fits the polarized environment of the Bush presidency vs. a less provocative effort to balance core values with centrist ideas that proved successful in the 1990s but has since produced a backlash within the party. This is a total, and very dangerous, misread. Triangulation is not a strategy for parties to implement, it's a playbook for individual politicians seeking to transcend party status. For them, it's a good idea. The generally...
  • "W" Is For Women (When Convenient)

    You owe it to yourself to read Riverbend's wrenching post on what the constitutional codification of shari'a law means for Iraqi women: “And is Iran so bad?” He finally asked. Well no, Abu Ammar, I wanted to answer, it’s not bad for *you* - you’re a man… if anything your right to several temporary marriages, a few permanent ones and the right to subdue females will increase. Why should it be so bad? Instead I was silent. It’s not a good thing to criticize Iran these days. I numbly reached for the bags he handed me, trying to rise out of that sinking feeling that overwhelmed me when the results were first made public. It’s not about a Sunni government or a Shia government- it’s about the possibility of an Iranian-modeled Iraq. Many Shia are also appalled with the results of the elections. There’s talk of Sunnis being marginalized by the elections but that isn’t the situation. It’s not just Sunnis- it’s moderate Shia and secular people in general who have been marginalized. ... It’s...
  • "Democrats"

    Does anybody else think Ben Nelson sounds like he's one close election away from switching parties? Would you ever consider becoming a Republican? Somebody said not long ago that people don't always leave the party; the party leaves the people. So, recognizing that you never know what the future's going to hold, what might happen, you never say never. But am I considering it right now? No. If you run for re-election in 2006, then, you're absolutely committed to running as a Democrat? I have every intention, if I run again, to run as a Democrat. Speaking of "Democrats", does anyone else think Lieberman's revived interest in private accounts is connected to the revived talk of him replacing Rumsfeld? Yeah, me neither.
  • Brilliant!

    Yes, that's smart Republican strategy -- enrage AARP: Taking its cues from the success of last year's Swift boat veterans' campaign in the presidential race, a conservative lobbying organization has hired some of the same consultants to orchestrate attacks on one of President Bush's toughest opponents in the battle to overhaul Social Security. The lobbying group, USA Next, which has poured millions of dollars into Republican policy battles, now says it plans to spend as much as $10 million on commercials and other tactics assailing AARP, the powerhouse lobby opposing the private investment accounts at the center of Mr. Bush's plan. "They are the boulder in the middle of the highway to personal savings accounts," said Charlie Jarvis, president of USA Next and former deputy under secretary for the interior in the Reagan and first Bush administrations. "We will be the dynamite that removes them."
  • Off With His Head!

    Garance Franke-Ruta gets this exactly right : Succumbing to faculty pressure, Harvard University president Larry Summers finally released the transcript of his controversial comments on women in the sciences, made at an MIT conference in January, proving rather conclusively that those who gave him the benefit of the doubt about the nature of his remarks were mistaken in so doing. Read the rest of her post. I thought Summers was ham-handed and wrong before, now I believe he should resign.
  • Sign Me Up For The Fainthearted Faction

    As Kevin noticed last week, there are two magazines packed into every issue of The Economist . There's the smart, savvy magazine that doesn't let its ideology get in the way of informing you, and then there's the magazine that talks about George W. Bush. That magazine, in stark contrast to its world-weary housemate, views the president with a combination of excited optimism, twice-burned shyness, and more excited optimism! This, from last week's issue , was simply too good not to quote: There is no reason to believe the horror stories that Wall Street is about to fleece helpless savers: learning from other privatisations overseas, Mr Bush's people want the new retirement accounts to be managed in a way that will keep costs low. Really truly!? Consider me convinced -- I had no idea that, unlike the Thatcher administration, President Bush's folks didn't think fleecing the elderly was a good idea! But now that I know, well, I'm going to start blast-faxing my senators right this instant!...
  • Last post

    This is Ezra writing -- thanks to Chris for doing such a wonderful job in my absence. He gets 50 blog points, redeemable for poorly constructed prizes at the counter. Well, it has been fun. I want to thank Ezra for the opportunity to make a fool of myself for fourty eight hours. And, like every bad house guest, I stayed longer than expected, made a lot of long-distance calls and drank all the liquor. Thank you, Ezra, and I'm sorry again for ever recommending you read Hugh Hewitt's book so you can make fun of it. A couple of things before I leave. I had been an admirer of Mr. Thompson's and found his Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail one of the finest books of campaign literature I have ever read. This is a fine tribute , I think. If you're in the Kansas City area, feel free to send me an e-mail . I'll leave you with some thoughts on something that probably interests only me (the Kansas City Royals) below the jump. I'll see you in the comments section. - Chris R