Ezra Klein

Sally Ho, Oh Sullivan!

Andy Sullivan is sorta-kinda-maybe leaving the blogosphere, at least for awhile. I don't generally agree with the guy (particularly when he called me part of some imaginary liberal fifth column), but he's one hell of a writer and I've always liked his blog. Plus, when he agreed with you, you could just quote him and appear eloquent by association, which was a nice service.

We're The Winners, But Where Are The Contestants?

Matt's got a post full of true bigthink on the multipolarity (present and future) of the word, and our position vis-a-vis the emerging powers of China and India. Read it in full. I, on the other hand, am going to zoom in a bit:

Doctor Said What?

Do we really need a Senate majority Leader saying things like this?

"I can play hardball as well as anybody," he said, unprompted, at the end of a recent interview. "That's what I did, cut people's hearts out. On the other hand, I do it to cure them, to heal them, to make them better."

Weirdo. When he starts comparing us to cats, it's time to call the police.

Did Summers get Screwed?

Zoe Vanderwolk has emerged out of retirement to defend Larry Summers. I'd do some quoting but her comments really deserve to be read in full, they're the best I've seen on the issue in weeks. Worth noting is that Zoe is a female statistics major at Harvard, if she wasn't around to weigh in on this, some newspaper somewhere would have to invent her. Anyway, go read.

Let's Get Ready to Ruuummbleee

Dean's got it. That, at least, is how it looks, with the only potential obstacle being some bizarre Fowler-led revolution, which I'm just not seeing. Beyond the race and into the reactions, Pelosi and Reid would probably do well to refrain from kneecapping the party's titular head just days before the votes come in. He's clearly got the loyalty of the party's base and, during the primary, attracted significant support. So comments like these are neither truthful nor helpful:

Today's Goodies

• A tad aged, but Kung Fu Monkey misses Republicans.

• Jeanne d'Arc preaches it.

• Mark Schmitt comes out for Rosenberg, and makes the point that net-savvy isn't the sole or even primary attribute needed. Is he sure?

• Henry hooks Easterbrook's Collapse review up to the Insight Machine and returns with this:

Organize Me!

Paul Waldman's distillation of the Bureau of Labor Statistics' new report is a must for anyone wanting a reminder of the great good unions do their members (good to the tune of a 20-25% increase in salary). As for the canard that unions stifle innovation and choke economies, take a peek at the top 10 unionized states and the bottom 10, and try and figure out which group, on average, has the more advanced economies, higher GDP's, largest tech/knowledge sectors, and best quality of life. Don't worry, it won't take you long.

Mother Jones Rock

Brad Plumer explains how a Democratic bill becomes a law.

Of Ayatollahs and Imams

Somewhere in Mother Jones's impossible to navigate archives, Brad Plumer writes:

it might not be the end of the world if democracy in the Middle East gave rise to Islamic governments, as many have feared. Eventually, these leaders have to keep the country running smoothly, and they need to answer to voters. An overly-zealous and incompetent government could well turn people away from religion altogether, or promote the development of a secular society, as we're seeing in Basra.

The Politics of Branding

Tucker Foehl points out this interview with Naomi Klein. Her thoughts on the anti-war movement, the state of Iraq, the failure of the left, and basically everything else are worth reading in full, but this caught my eye:

So what the Republican Party has done is that it has co-branded with other powerful brands — like country music, and NASCAR, and church going, and this larger proud-to-be-a-redneck identity. Policy is pretty low on the agenda, in terms of why people identify as Republicans. They identify with these packets of attributes.

Things You Should Be Reading

• The world has an oil problem, but the best solution may be the doomsday scenario of a sharp and irrevocable rise in oil prices. At least, so long as it happens before India and China accelerate into huge dependency on cheap oil.

• The president has a problem with his speeches, mainly, that they contradict his actions. While I've already pointed to a few articles offering a general overview of our despotic allies, Steve's rundown of the Uzbeki leader's tyranny is much more viscerally illustrative.

And Don't Do It Again

In an otherwise impressive synthesis/review of the current glut of books promising a European Revolution, Tony Judt hobbles his piece with a near-fatal opening:

Good Show!

Bayh really nailed the framing on Social Security privatization on This Week (the Stephanopoulos show).

[L]ook, the president is probably going to talk a lot about ownership and individual choice. I think those are great concepts, and I can support those -- but in addition to the current Social Security system, not as a replacement for it.

Look, you may own your home; a lot of Americans do. I bet you have insurance. Ownership and insurance have to go hand in hand.

Social Security is the insurance. Senior citizens in our country can always rely on it to make sure they're not desperately poor in their old age.