• 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. Their hypothesis couldn't have been more right.

• Matt Singer, of Left in the West, is a bit light in the wallet these days. If you could give him a hand, I know he'd appreciate it. And if you read him regularly, as you should, you know he's worth it.

• It's been a long time since I read a story sadder, or more touching, than this profile of a prominent researcher who studies Lou Gehrig's disease, and now has it. Bitterly ironic stuff, but inspiring to see how he's dealing with it.

• Did you know Fox News was biased? Yeah, so did I. But now we have proof. Money quote:

In an interview, Fox's executive daytime producer, Jerry Burke, says: "I encourage the anchors to be themselves. I'm certainly not going to step in and censor an anchor on any issue. . . . You don't want to look at a cookie-cutter, force-feeding of the same items hour after hour. I think that's part of the success of the channel, not treating our anchors like drones. They're, number one, Americans, and number two, human beings, as well as journalists."

Human beings second, huh? That's one dangerous strain of nationalism right there.

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