JAPANESE POLITICS: STILL WACKY When Republicans lose elections, they often blame some issue they see as tangential to their actual policies -- corruption, for instance -- nstead of admitting the unpopularity of their leaders. They could learn a thing or two from Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe, himself a conservative, who recently responded to calls for his resignation (his party suffered a crushing defeat in elections last weekend) by arguing that, far from desiring his departure, the vote reflected "the people's wish to have us reflect on the things we should reflect on and to refresh our minds." So problem solved then.
POLICIES? WE DON'T NEED NO STINKIN' POLICIES! The last two months or so have seen a great deal of debate over the policy differences, or lack thereof, between the major Democratic candidates. We've had learned analysis of the various Democrats' health care plans, poverty strategies, and, most recently, approaches to terrorism. Only now are the major media outlets starting to admit the democrats have concrete ideas. For example, Obama, we're told, only recently started to show some substance. Yet, by this standard, every major Republican candidate is about as substantial as tissue paper in a tornado.
BARACK OBAMA WILL PERSONALLY TRACK DOWN OSAMA BIN LADEN AND KILL HIM WITH HIS BARE HANDS. Not really, but that's the impression you get from the glowing coverage of Obama's speech today. It was, indeed, very good and there's a good chance it will be remembered as the moment he finally dispelled worries about his foreign policy experience. Substantively, it contains pretty much everything you could ask for -- withdrawal from Iraq, non-proliferation, greater involvement in Afghanistan and so on.
ETHICS! In yet another rebuttal to claims the current Democratic congress isn't accomplishing anything the House today passed an ethics reform bill that closes a variety of loopholes in current law. It isn't revolutionary but it's progress. The Senate is expected to pass the bill by the end of the week. We should be concerned, however, because six of the eight nay's were Democrats, including John Murtha (full roll call here).