Ezra Klein

Oops, Uh-Oh, and I Don't Know: Foreign policy chatter


Steve Chapman, in today's Chicago Tribune, writes that the Iraq war may have had the unintended consequence of convincing our foes that they MUST obtain WMD - that Saddam's mistake was not possessing the weapons in order to defend himself against the invasion. Sounds plausible to me.


Style or Substance?

Kevin Drum's post reminds me of a topic that Ezra, Dave Weinfeld, and I (the three interns at the Washington Monthly last summer) frequently commented on: the fact that the Left appears to be much more willing to attack and despise their own hacks, public figures, talking heads, symbolic personalities, op-ed journalists, etc. than than the Right is willing to do regarding their own.

Piggybacking Matt

Matt Yglesias focuses on Crown Prince Abdullah's scheme to be written up as "reform-minded" in the Western press while simultaneously ensuring that the same Western press will call for Abdullah to stay in power...the Crown Prince being able to institute such a plan by holding very limited elections practically guaranteeing the Islamists a victory. Read his post.

The more compelling inquiry is found in studying both America's political response and the general public's response. How Americans react to this event will illuminate our foreign policy's priorities, goals, and expectations.

-- Steve Cieslewicz"

Curious Cieslewicz

Just out of curiosity, if you could institute or subtract one government policy or law, what would it be? If you can't reduce it to one, list several. I want this to be as personal of a response as possible so, in order to avoid any powers of suggestion, I'm going to refrain from stating mine (until perhaps a later time) and allow you to speak your minds.

-- Steve Cieslewicz

Virtue from Vice

Nothing more aptly applies to the phrase “beating a dead horse” than the legalizing marijuana debate. The common sense arguments for its legalization have been repeated ad nauseam for at least the last 40 years. But I read a Chicago Tribune article last Tuesday (I apologize for not having a link, but really the article is irrelevant)quoting a Richard Nixon appointed commission, “marijuana is relatively harmless and possession of less than an ounce should be legal.” Let’s resolve this inconsistency.


In part due to the reaction toward my Indecent Proposal post and in part do to the nature of my next post, I'd like to make a quick point regarding my interpretation of the nature of blogs.

Blogs have three major beneficial effects: dissemination of information, a check on the media (as well as a supplemental source of that media), and blogs create a forum where ideas are placed on a table and then people can either admire, ponder, critique, applaud, add to, subtract from, etc. to those ideas. Blogs create dialogues.

Got Dean

Since it is now official, I'd like to say congratulations to Howard Dean. I supported you for president and I'm glad to see you elected as Chairman. The guy can raise money, energize the base, and connect with television viewers (my grandma absolutely loved him, that is coming from a woman who faithfully votes Republican). A man who was able to expand health care while remaining fiscally responsible (perhaps suggesting efficiency), and a man who courted the gun-rights vote while legalizing civil unions: balance.

State. Church. Abortion. Reason.

Amy Sullivan, of the Washington Monthly, calls attention to this Pro-Choice America letter citing Senator Harry Reid's Prevention First Act - an act that would make it easier to get birth control and therefore cut down on unwanted pregnancies, unwanted pregnancies being something all people can agree are not good. Of course, the strictest pro-lifers will oppose this because they detest the idea of having sex and not making a baby. Fine.

But the following quote is found in the comments section:

Justice Malpractice

I have no earth-shattering comments on this ABA report stating that the legal representation of indigents is in a state of crisis, but I did want to take a moment to publically vent my frustration. The insurance companies cry, Republicans listen, and all of a sudden medical malpractice is placed on the high priority list and becomes a household issue. But people going to jail due to crappy lawyers is, it appears, considered to simply be unfortunate.


-- Steve Cieslewicz

Indecent Proposal

The Supreme Court, 1942: There are certain well defined and narrowly limitd classes of speech, [such as the obscene and the libelous, that] are no essential part of any exposition of ideas and are of such slight social value as a step to truth that any benefit that may be derived from them is clearly outweighed by the social interest in order and morality (as written in Geoffrey R. Stone's Perilous Times: Free Speech in Wartime).

My Pet Monster (truck)

It is 9 feet high, 21 feet long, 8.5 feet wide, 7 tons, can carry nearly 6 tons in load, and gets 8 miles per gallon…“It” is the new International CXT. In fact, the CXT has a gross vehicle weight rating of 25,999 (compared to the Hummer’s 10,300 lbs.) which is exactly, and purposely, one pound under the 26,000 GVWR minimum requiring a commercial driver’s license.


Mark Schmitt's got an excellent, thought-provoking post on the changing face of membership. Contra the Dean campaign and NARAL, he believes the era of dues-paying, weekly-meeting organization has passed, and we should start asking what's next.

He's right. I was as enthused as everyone else about the Dean for America MeetUps, but they survived only till the campaign's close, and only thrived while their buzz was enormous. The Democracy for America meetings that succeeded them were a pale shadow of their former selves. And I don't know anyone my age -- including me -- who's a due-paying member of any group, even those we distinctly agree with.

Great Minds, Etc...

Brad Plumer jumps on a hobbyhorse of mine, namely, the need to build more medical schools. There are a mere 125 in the nation, and the competition is so intense that a B here and there disqualifies you. Fast forward a few years and doctors are so overloaded that they make patients wait hours but can only offer them minutes. Residents are in such high demand that they work inhuman shifts and their exhaustion leads to mistakes. Sounds like we need a supply increase.