Archive

  • Bloggy Blog Blog Blog

    Daniel Munz, who I've always found really excellent and thought-provoking, has got himself a new blog . Go say hi. And while you're there, tell him to make the banner atop the site smaller, it'd be nice to see a post or two when I first land on the page. On a related note, I've been thinking a lot about link hierarchies and new blog promotion. In comments, Brian Jennings made the point that it makes more sense for a few writer to put his energy into posting diaries at DailyKos, rather than stick his flag in some unknown backland in cyberspace. Kos's place boasts a huge audience who will look at your work and, if they like what you do, ensure more folks read it. At the top levels of diary promotion, more eyeballs will land on it than will see any other blogger that day, save Kos himself. That's a much more rational and direct reward system, particularly in the lefty blogosphere where our interest in promoting our brethren fluctuates between "nil" and "eh". Unfortunately, and I wish it...
  • Tierney

    The NY Times has chosen their new columnist, and the lucky winner is libertarian gadfly John Tierney (who looks shockingly like Regis Philbin. I'm serious, go look ). Via Julie Saltman , we've got Chris Mooney's extensive profile of the rhetorical agitator, and via Nexis, I've got a bunch of his columns from the past few years. If Mooney is to be believed, he's a fun-loving free-marketer who likes to inject himself into his pieces and use his experiences to tell a story. Kind of a Kristof without the humanitarianism, but with a whole lot more pranks. If the columns are to be believed, the guy's just kinda fluffy, with lots of multiple-choice tests and faux-awards ceremonies. Brooks on his intentionally funny days. All in all, not a particularly objectionable choice, but the Times probably could've found a more edifying voice to occupy the real estate. Also, unlike Matt , I don't think blogs are supplanting the op-ed page. Blogs, at least in their general, constantly updated forms, do...
  • Art Matters

    In the "that's a trip" category, construction crews are taking sanders to the beautiful Disney Center here in LA. Why? Beams of sunlight reflected from portions of the hall have roasted the sidewalk to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, enough to make plastic sag, cause serious sunburn to people standing on the street and create a hazard to passing motorists... "I will just appreciate not having the glare," said condo resident Jacqueline LaGrone, who said that her air-conditioning bill had doubled during summer months since Disney Hall opened and that the glare made it impossible to sit on her patio on hot days. "It's about time," added Sheila Nixon, a Department of Water and Power employee who regularly walks around the hall for exercise. "We feel like ants under a magnifying glass."
  • Battle Lines

    From The System : Had any part of the Clinton plan passed that Congress in any form, Gingrich and his closest conservative allies believed, their dreams for forging a militarily conservative future would "have been cooked," as a key Gingrich strategist later explained. It would have been the final nail in the coffin of the American marketplace resulting in a social-welfare state like Britain or Canada, creating greater public dependency on government and a government-run plan, and a stronger allegiance of voters to majority Democrats, who provided them their benefits. Only by controlling Congress with a new conservative Republican majority could the final goals of their "Republican Revolution" be achieved: to break the public dependency on Democratic tax-funded government programs; "defund the government" as they put it, and in so doing, destroy the liberal constituency groups; and permit the flowering of an antigovernment, antitax, entrepreneurial nation. All these aims were...
  • I Choose You, Hitchy-Poo!

    In a landslide vote, Hitchens (not to be confused with Will Smith's Hitch ) has won the Oscar for laziest column writer the Academy has ever seen: The return of politics to Iraq has had many blissful secondary consequences, one of them apparently minor but nonetheless, I think, important. When was the last time you heard some glib pundit employing the phrase ‘The Arab Street’? I haven’t actually done a Nexis search on this, but my strong impression is that the term has been, without any formal interment, laid to rest. Because you know what takes for-fucking-ever? Nexis searches. Judd's got your factual debunking of Hitch. All I'm going to say is that there were quite a few times during my high school career that I noticed women had decided en masse to end all intimacy with men. I didn't research it or talk to anyone and simply chalked it up to being a fat kid (which, at the time, I was). Turns out it was actually a cunning sociological observation that I should have written up for...
  • Risk

    Thanks to Peter Gosselin's blog-based outreach efforts (when mid-size bloggers like me are getting e-mails, you know he's casting a wide promotional net!), I've spent some time rereading his series on risk in America. Kevin Drum beat me to the punch and called for a Pulitzer, a demand I really can't argue with. But I'm less desperate for award committees to read the piece and more hopeful that Democrats, of all positions and power levels, will absorb the package. Because it contains everything needed for a compelling, coherent, and critically important economic message. I know I jump on this horse every few weeks, but it's really necessary for us to build a new populism based on the all-pervasive reality of risk in America, not just as a political imperative, but as a service to America's working class. With business focused entirely on short-term profits (see the post below) and Republicans trying to inject ever more risk into the lives of the worker, Americans desperately need a...
  • The Long View

    Matt's post on the increasingly narrow social outlook of big business is worth thinking about. I'm not in any place to evaluate this, but I've heard a number of people smarter than I attribute it to the shift towards quarterly earning reports. When business thought in the long-term, it made sense to take a wider view of society, because the long-range health of the one would dictate the health of the other. But as the race refocused on immediate earnings, the perspective shifted to cutting costs and maximizing profits in the now, and so the political outlook narrowed to take in only what would pay immediate dividends.
  • Democracy Fever -- Catch It!

    With Lebanon's government resigning en masse, it's worth revisiting David Brooks's much-mocked (but then, aren't they all?) column from this weekend, where he identified the question "why not here?" as being the preeminent query in today's world. As he saw it, Ukrainians looked at the peaceful revolution in Georgia and though, hell, we can do that! And they did. And Arabs are looking at the elections in Iraq and, to a lesser extent, Afghanistan, and thinking they should have those too. And so they are. What Brooks misses is that the really interesting transformation isn't occurring among the citizenry, but with the monarchs. The death of Arafat, the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, the two peaceful revolutions in Europe -- democracy, it seems, is in the air, and these guys will be damned if they're going to cause a revolution by choking it off. That explains the Saudis' tentative first step towards elections as well as their recent assurances that women will gradually be given the...
  • Choose No Choice

    It's sad to say, but the US has begun acting like a freshman fraternity pledge in international meetings, clinging desperately to some absurd point that their frat brothers insisted they promote. Only the US isn't an annoying freshmen, it's the world's superpower. And it's not being controlled by fraternity officials, but by the Christian Right. And we're holding up and even derailing international summits along the way. Like this conference , arranged on the 10th anniversary of the historic U.N Women's Conference in Beijing in order to evaluate progress towards female equality. We've decided that the summit can't take another step until the attending delegates pass a resolution declaring that women have no right to an abortion. No, I'm not kidding. 10 years ago, the delegates agreed that abortion was a public health issue and where it was legal it should be safe. That's it. But the US, and more to the point, this Administration, wants a resolution affirming that choice is not a human...
  • Bleg

    I'm participating in a quarterly right-left debate tomorrow. Format is three people each side doing the debate, with each responsible for a two minute statement on a topic besides. I've got secularism. I don't know much about it, so if you guys have any resources on church-state separation plus founding fathers stuff, it'd be a big help. Also, UCLA (or LA) folks are welcome to come -- just e-mail me for the info.

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