Saturday, May 31, 2008

Patient Dumping Settlement

Patient dumping is a huge problem for lots of 'progressive' cities across America... if you are dumb (read: humane) enough to offer homeless services, you will be taken advantage of.

Let this be a lesson to corporate hospitals and others who engage in this shameful practice.

Nothing to See Here - Move Along!

In the US, climate science gets politicized - in Israel archaeology gets politicized.

Hezbollah Spy Tells All (Sort Of)

I think it's instructive (as a corrective to those who think that some sort of monolithic "radical Islam" is the key to understanding all the problems in the Middle East) that he identifies as a "Lebanese patriot" first and as a Muslim second.

Marijuana Capital of America?


Dumb, Dumb, Dumb

More Nunez self-abasement! David Dayen says Nunez is not only wrong but also WAY off-message - perhaps trying to sabotage his successor?

Larry Craig Memoir: Don't Kiss, Don't Tell


Taking Advantage of an Unusually Swift News Day

Amid RBC circus, Obama resigns from TUCC.

Tewes To Head DNC?

It's worth recalling that Tewes is a GOTV and field ops specialist, a genuine grassroots party-builder. He couldn't pull out Ohio or Pennsylvania for Obama in the primary, but he'll surely get a second shot at it in the general, and many more chances if he lands at the DNC.

Contrarianism & The Straw-Man Dialectic


Ayers threw a fund-raising party for Obama. They sat together on the board of a community group. Is this association between Obama and these dangerous radicals a scandal? Or is the scandal digging up all this ancient history? Those have been the options in the debate. But the truth is a third option: Ayers and Dohrn are despicable, and yet making an issue of Obama's relationship with them is absurd.

But how exactly does the "third option" differ from the "second option?" Aren't the two completely compatible? Is there really a group subscribing to "second option" that does not subscribe to "third option?" Are there really liberals out there defending Ayers's acts of violence, or are they a figment of Kinsley's imagination, something he's invented in order to triangulate off?

Isn't this a perfect example of the straw-man dialectic that afflicts our beloved "contrarian" pundits?

Ailing Old Media

Uncontacted Tribes "Discovered" In Brazil

Not uncontacted anymore.

Bernard Avishai Is Impressed (As I Am) With the AKP


More With Mountaineers

Another good West Virginia story:

Before the crucial West Virginia primary in 1960, Hubert Humphrey denounced John F. Kennedy as “a millionaire’s son who had never worked a day in his life.”

Kennedy was shaking hands with coal miners in the state one day, when one grizzled old miner held onto his hand and wouldn’t let go. “Is it true you’re a millionaire’s son who never worked a day in your life?” the miner asked.

Kennedy gulped and said, “Yeah, I guess so.”

The miner slapped him on the back and said, “Lemme tell you, son, you ain’t missed a thing.”

The Perils of Making Iran an Anti-Semitism Issue


From the Frying Pan Into the Fire

McCain seeks refuge from allegations of supporting outsourcing of US jobs by embracing potentially illegal cooperation with taxpayer-watchdog nonprofit groups!

Note that one of the CAGW directors is named Orson Swindle. He should be on the staff of Car Talk.

43% Alcohol - The Terrorists Have Won!

Gershom Gorenberg is really a great blogger:

So Pipes, Michelle Malkin, Geller et al should pay attention: The words alcohol , algebra and algorism are all really Arabic. They are proof of a nefarious Islamic plot to destroy Western society. If the words "43% alcohol" appears on your whiskey bottle, it’s proof that Al-Qaeda has taken over Scotland. if your children are told to study algebra, the school has become a madrassa. All computer programs are part of the cyberwar, because they use algorisms. Don’t just be afraid, if you are a true patriot. Be terrified.

Did I mention that Hitler wore pants?

Grave Concerns

This post made me think of a recent acquaintance, Tom Parker of the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center, who met his wife at a mass grave site in Iraq. (She does NGO work exhuming mass graves for a living.) Romance blossoms in unlikely places.

Axis of Buddhism

Dalai Lama as religious dictator.

MoveOn: McLellan Should Donate Profits From His Book


Yglesias on the Appeasement Paradox

When you blithely assume your opponents are irrational ideologues, you often lose touch with rationality yourself.

Putting J Street On The Map

I thought it was interesting last week when linked to J Street's petition for McCain to sack Hagee (rather than, say, doing their own petition). That's a ton of free advertising for J Street.

Get Your RFK Assassination Conspiracy Theory Fix

This blog, written by Lisa Pease (a leftist historian and frequent contributor to Robert Parry's Consortium News) seems dedicated largely to CIA conspiracy theories (in particular RFK assassination revisionism)... it's amazing how many things can be related somehow to CIA conspiracies! Sydney Pollack's death, for example ("Three Days of the Condor"). Hillary's RFK gaffe makes Pease's job almost too easy.

"Coming Out" Against Gay Marriage

Stop the presses: Rick Santorum has come out against the California gay marriage ruling. (He also appears slated to become a columnist for the Philly Inquirer's op-ed page.) It's amazing how he talks about gay marriage -- gathering threat, wake-up call, attack on Christianity, "I'm not a bigot, I'm a prophet!" -- pretty much exactly the same way he talks about Islamist jihad...

I was just checking on Santorum's wikipedia entry and found this nugget: "While working at the law firm of Kirkpatrick & Lockhart, he represented the World Wrestling Federation, arguing that professional wrestling should be exempt from federal anabolic steroid regulations because it was not a sport." Clever!

Lone Plastic Bottle of Hand Sanitizer Glued to the Counter...

Virgin America, Qantas, and others have some nice design ideas, but it does seem a bit like misplaced priorities.

Mexico As Failed State


Wired's Rethinking Green Issue

Lots of good, provocative stuff. Check it out.

California Yacht Party's Knight In Shining Armor?


Maverick, Get Thee To A Nominating Convention!

Kirchick is right, perhaps... but why not say the same about charlatans like Zell Miller or even Joe Lieberman?

McCain Polling at 10% In Puerto Rico

McCain can look on the bright side: he's got nowhere to go but up. (Not that PR votes count in the general election, of course...)

This is Not Really Cameron Diaz


Chinese Hackers Behind US Blackouts?

If these allegations are true, it seems like a potentially explosive development in US-China relations... unless of course people in BOTH governments are working overtime to cover it up.

Bowers on the "Progressive Window" - Carpe Diem!


The Truth About Hardball Politics

Speaking of Abel Maldonado and Karl Rove, here's Ben Smith on hardball politics.

Kos Persuasively Defends Texas Prima-Caucus Thingy


It's A Cold Day In Hell When the Politicos Finally Get Wise

Or maybe not! This is like when Trent Lott lost his coastal mansion in Hurricane Katrina and realized that insurance companies actually are run by a bunch of assholes.

Spencer Ackerman's Brutal Attack on Lee Siegel


Some Thoughts About Loyalty

So in the wake of the RBC meeting I've been thinking a lot about "loyalty"... Many dead-ender HRC supporters (and I'm thinking in particular of superdels and other elites here) talk about it in the context of their willingness to cling to her dying campaign. But aren't these people Democrats? Don't they have any loyalty to the Party - and an obligation not to destroy it?

Discretion is the better part of loyalty -- just ask Scott McClellan! You've got to know when to tell the boss that he or she's looking at a snowman and it's time to pick up on the hole. (For the uninitiated, that was a golf analogy.)

Obama Inflation

What's funny about this is that I got on a strategy session call with Plouffe last November for only $25. I guess times have changed.

Bad-Ass Blogger

It's pretty bad-ass to get the head of the Taxi Commission on the phone to tell your cabby that he better take you home (rough neighborhood or no rough neighborhood) -- or else!

Score one for the losers in their pajamas.

Protect the Children From Free Speech!

Personally I'm in favor of cognitive dissonance, but I guess most parents are not.

Bond Gadgets In Real Life


Saudi Barber "Insults" Islam

In these sorts of instances, it's really Islam insulting itself.

Bill In Cahoots With Youtube to Sabotage HRC Campaign

And yet I maintain that he's been a net plus!

Doomsday Goes Green

A while back I'd written about Russia's environmentally friendly doomsday weapon. Now there's this.

I Just Love the Idea of Marty Peretz Getting Third-Degree Treatment From El Al Security


J Street: Questions Asked and Answered


Wexler for Veep

A kos diarist is thinking about Wexler for Veep. I've been thinking the same thing lately. Wexler helps Obama with Jewish voters, Florida voters, he's young and doesn't interfere with the change message (unlike, well, Hillary), he's popular with left liberals because he's talked favorably about impeachment...

The guy's got a lot going for him.

Patronizing Politician Alert!

Ricky Martin is an "important voice" in the Latino community? Let's hope not.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

My Opponent Isn't Just Old, But Also Old-Fashioned!

I think the point of the ad is more to raise the age issue with regards to Lautenberg, not so much to accuse him of sexism (the sexism charge is a complete red herring)... in terms of back-handedly raising the age issue against his opponent, Obama is going to have to do a lot better than this.

R. Kelly's Lack of Superego

Going through some old New Yorkers last night, I came across this Sasha Frere-Jones review of R. Kelly's 2007 album "Double Up":

Kelly seems to have no superego; he is willing to say anything that occurs to him, no matter how strange he sounds or how self-incriminating it might seem. Many people facing serious criminal charges related to sexual conduct would not include a song called "Sex Planet" on their CD, or, if they did, would probably omit the line about a "trip to planet Uranus."

Friday, May 23, 2008

$126 Million Dollar Man FINALLY Wins


Nunez: I'm Being Persecuted By Racists!

"Because of the fact I am Mexican, they think I have to sleep under a cactus and eat from taco stands."

Every time I begin to think California's term limits were a bad idea, some politician steps up to the plate and reminds me why they might be worth keeping.

Indiana Jones and the Internet Economy


Hurt Feelings in the Wake of McCain's Preacher Massacre

As Sarah Posner points out, McCain's active recruitment of Hagee and Parsley makes rejecting them now that much more odious - that is, from the perspective of the Christian ultra-right. (Yesterday I'd proposed that his active recruitment of Hagee made McCain's preacher problem more odious as a general matter of political ethics than Wright/Obama. Paul Waldman tacks a slightly different course on this theme.)

Brilliant McCain VP Pick: Nobody!

Ambinder leaves the McCain VP "wild card" slot empty. And what a pregnant emptiness! It could be a brilliant strategy: Straight Talk is not only so tough that he doesn't need secret service protection, but so tough he doesn't need to choose a vice president!

The Personal Virtue of Personal Gaming


Jews Drifting to the Right? Not So Much

Hat tip to Yglesias.

"Ways Of Seeing" Comes to Youtube

It is, among other things, a penetrating analysis of the dispositive influence of male chauvinism in art history -- and arrived on the youtube scene just in time for Hillary to drop out!

Book-burning Rabbis

Good grief. If book-burning isn't contrary to Jewish tradition, I don't know what is...

Ludicrous "Dream Ticket" Math


Too Dumb to Know the Difference?


Cherie = Hillary?

"As with the deadliest assaults on Hillary Clinton, which came from female stiletto heels, the most brutal denunciations of Cherie were from women."

Department of Friends Like These...

Sistani's growing anti-Americanism...

"It is also unknown whether al-Sistani intended the fatwas to inspire violence or simply as theological opinions on foreign occupiers." Hmmm, seems like a charitable but wrongheaded distinction....

What Is Abel Maldonado Afraid Of?

The Rove playbook goes coastal...

Thursday, May 22, 2008

NY Sun on Lieberman: Rest Assured, He's Winger-Friendly!

They also seem to give Lieberman the credit for McCain's turn-around victory in New Hampshire.

More Labour Crack-Up

Big defeat in traditional Labour stronghold in the North, but is it enough? Apparently a 17% "swing" -- meaning % improvement in vote share over previous elections, an important metric in a proportional representation system -- isn't actually that huge compared with Labour's swings in by-elections in the mid-1990s (up to 29%) before Blair's ascendancy in 1997.

More On "Jihadi" Jeffrey Goldberg & His Critics...

Koffler nails it. (We live in a strange world where Goldberg is a jihadi and John Hagee is pro-Israel!)

Hagee Shit Hits Fan

This afternoon blesses us with news of McCain's belated ministerial untethering - and Hagee's own delusional de-endorsement...

Some will argue that Obama is poorly situated to make political hay from McCain's pastor problem (McCain evidently thinks so)... I disagree. It's true that Hagee/McCain and Wright/Obama are different -- that is to say, Hagee/McCain is much worse! Obama and Wright have a pastor-parishioner relationship, i.e. a spiritual relationship divorced from politics... whereas McCain and Hagee have an EXPLICITLY POLITICAL relationship. McCain courted Hagee's POLITICAL endorsement for over a year; they have appeared together side-by-side at POLITICAL events; by McCain's own admission they share POLITICAL views regarding Israel and the Middle East. Which should be judged more harshly: someone with a kooky lawyer, doctor, accountant, pastor, etc.; or someone whose POLITICAL circle includes delusional lunatics and whose views on the Middle East are, according to these lunatics, in line with God's will, just like the Holocaust? (By political circle I simply refer to all those whose support a politician actively seeks.)

And as I think I've said before, there is a qualitative difference in venality of content. Israel aside, homophobic bigots like Hagee contribute to a social climate where thousands of gay and lesbian teens commit suicide every year; the only thing Reverend Wright causes is a ratings bump for Sean Hannity. When the Donald Rumsfelds of the world are so distraught over Rev. Wright's criticism of their foreign policy that they start consulting Kevorkian, call me and I'll re-evaluate.

Max Blumenthal is hardly alone in wondering if Joe Lieberman has any thoughts about Hagee's latest contribution to Holocaust studies?

Indulging the Cat-Callers, Or Getting Even?

Bolstered Case For Staging of Al-Dura Video


McCain: Older Than Appeasement Itself?


More From the "Rush Hearts Hillary" File...


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

"The technology He Helped Bring to Market Could Kill His Candidacy

Old People's Faces in HDTV = Yucky!

Make that super yucky!

In a related story, check out the whiskers on this walrus! Wilford Brimley, eat your heart out.

Exit Polling a Vote-By-Mail Election (Pollster Via Politico)

Mark Blumenthal:

In Oregon, where all votes are cast by mail, the survey conducted by the networks is not technically an "exit" poll. They conduct supplemental surveys by telephone in the days leading up to the election in many states with significant early voting (such as North Carolina, Texas and California). They ask the same questions by telephone that voters get on "exit" poll questionnaires administered at polling places. In Oregon, however, all interviews have been done by telephone.

That's fine as far as it goes, but it doesn't answer the question of whether or not exit polling by telephone (potentially weeks AFTER a voter's mail-in ballot was sent in) gives skewed results.

Don't Fear the Reaper

Ezra Klein:

Kennedy won't kick the bucket till he finally wins universal health care. Death will have to wait awhile. "Ah, sawry Mistah Reapah, we just need three mohr votes..."

A jello-shot of humor... I needed that. All these solemn but rather premature encomiums to Teddy's legacy have left me a bit depressed the last 24 hours.

Bridging the Divide


Why does every establishment I enter play Sara Bareilles' "I'm Not Gonna Write You A Love Song" in the background?.That goes for both upscale cafes and 7-Elevens. It's an awful song. Not a new song either. Does it have some proven stimulative effect on consumers?

Upscale cafes AND 7-Elevens? Forget consumers - it's a secret weapon to unite the beer- and wine-track Democrats! Schedule an endless loop at the Convention.

More In Sorrow Than In Anger

Well, that certainly doesn't apply to Zell "I Challenge You To A Duel!" Miller (as long as we're making comparisons). Nor, perhaps, to Lieberman's constituents... we're mad as hell!

Speaking of duels, the major foreign policy flap in the liberal blogosphere today was Yglesias versus Chait, with Yglesias continuing to hold the liberal hawks' feet to the fire. A bit uncharitable, perhaps (the Hypocritic Oath for pundits is mutually assured amnesia), but like the New York Yankees, grossly mistaken pundits (including, or maybe especially, those who support unwise wars in the Middle East) can never be criticized enough -- no such thing as too much accountability!

Clinton Channels Brokeback Mountain

Don't Sketch That

From the R. Kelly trial: "Sketch artists were warned that if they drew any depiction of the acts on the tape, they, too, could be charged with child pornography."

Complaining About Media Bias on Fox News

Anvils of irony indeed. Bush policy: editing tape is bad, but tossing out is good!

Banality of Evil

Yeah, why doesn't Hillary speak out against her racist supporters?! Even for Sullivan this is a bit pathetic. Could it be [minor sarcasm intended] partly because - in addition to the Clintons' manifest evilness [major sarcasm intended] -- Hillary is actually trying to help Obama downplay EXACTLY WHAT HE HIMSELF HAS BEEN TRYING TO DOWNPLAY? (Incidentally, see Daniel Schorr's interesting commentary on the origins of "downplay.")

Obama's Answer to Joe Lieberman?


Kos Starts His Own Intra-Party Healing Campaign

Exuding magnanimity: "And yes, Clinton has shattered barriers that will one day benefit my 13-month-old daughter."

And then not so much: "And for that, I am grateful, no matter how much I may want her to simply go away now."

Well, anyway, it's a good start.

Profile of the Excellent Rick Perlstein


Roland Martin's Idea For The 28th Amendment

Accessorize! Also: Hamas supports Obama AND flag pins! Contradiction? You decide!

If You Thought "Barack Obama" Was A Bit of A Tongue-Twister...

SUSA Surprise

Surprising SUSA poll: HRC up 6% on McCain in North Carolina, and Obama down by 8%. Interesting. Not seeing much commentary on this yet.

Sullivan: Why Mega-Rallies Are Important

Namely, they help drive fundraising. That's certainly true, but there's another reason.

Obama's support among young people is a huge factor in convincing older voters -- as well as superdelegates and party elites -- to back him. For a voter or superdel on the fence, seeing 75,000 people at an Obama rally could be a tie-breaking factor in their decision. Look at the Obama endorsement from Bob Casey, the pseudo-endorsement from Jimmy Carter, and the turncoat endorsement from George McGovern. Each cited the influence of Obama-supporting children and grandchildren. I don't think the appearance (if not the reality) of Obama's appeal to that desperately important (at least in the eyes of superdelegates who know the power of cementing party loyalty early in a voter's life) demographic with decades of voting ahead of it can be overestimated. Even when Jeremiah Wright and Bittergate had eroded some of Obama's cross-over appeal (and thus some of his appeal to superdels), Obama could still point to his ability to animate young voters, with the gargantuanness of his rallies being an important and tangible piece of evidence. In other words, public opinion polls and exit polls aren't enough. But if you can come to a rally to see Obama speak, you can come to a demonstration protesting a decision by the superdelegates to overturn the pledged delegate majority. For elites these things have real psychological heft.

The Kosher Slaughterhouse Tsimmes Thickens

A further twist on the Iowa kosher slaughterhouse story: Sex abuse.

The Other Mozart Effect


I Have "A Fair Amount of Respect For You," and Other Insults

Jeffrey Goldberg continues to defend himself today against the Jabotinskian crowd whose feathers he ruffled with a recent NY Times op-ed, "Israel's American Problem." Head over and see what he has to say, and for whom he has "a fair amount of respect"... (Hypothetical Jeremiah Wright quote: "I have a fair amount of respect for America." Get it? Damning with faint praise.)

Crude Reflections

A worthwhile investment. Get the real thing, not the Kindle version.

Sunday, May 18, 2008


A good column today by Thomas Friedman. Why does the left always give him such a hard time? About 90& of the time he sounds like a rich Beltway version of Michael Lerner (or a younger Jimmy Carter) - two-state solution based on '67 borders, minor territorial swaps, shared Jerusalem, Global Marshall Plan, etc etc. I mean, does David Brooks get treated as shabbily by the right? (The same could be said about Dershowitz, but this is a discussion for another time...)

I guess the answer lies partly in the important distinction between left and liberal. This distinction has collapsed somewhat since the 1960s, but it hasn't disappeared completely and never will. In fact, it's worth preserving because it has analytic utility: liberals still have to distance themselves from leftists when they, let's say, run for office, and leftists still have to hold liberals in contempt (and nothing establishes left credentials more than attacking a paradigmatic establishment-type like Friedman).

Anyway, it's the collapsing of the distinction that makes things like this so vexing. "Left" and "liberal" are crude and confusing shorthand... but don't muddy the waters even further by using the term "left-leaning" or suchlike! I guess basically I'd object to any ideological moniker for Friedman except "establishment liberal."

So there it is, in one post I've managed both to vigorously defend and to dismissively categorize Tom Friedman.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Conservative Crack-Up: Every Man For Himself In Winger-Land

Yeah, we know that Bob Barr probably doesn't like Mike Huckabee's "compassionate conservative" ideas about economics -- but why the sudden cheap shot? (Especially considering this.) It's usually not a good idea to pick a fight with a guy who's got a regular cable news gig... but with Richard Mellon Scaife on his side (at least if this fawning interview in the Pittsburgh Tribute-Review is any indication), Barr has his own ammo... not exactly news here, but we may have a real cat-fight between the privacy/budget hawks and the Jesus hawks on our hands this summer. Ron Paul was just the beginning. It's every man for himself right now in Winger-land. Tom Cole knows it. Apparently Barr and Huckabee know it, too. Stay tuned.

Have You Heard of This?

I hadn't.

Friday, May 16, 2008

WSJ Standards Collapsing - Look Out Below

Let's pray this is just a rumor.

Long Time Comin'

Ralph Nader is a Moron

What is it about people who wear their technological illiteracy as a badge of honor that is so damn irksome?

From the most recent Nader/Gonzalez campaign solicitation I received:

While most of us sit in front of screens typing and searching, Ralph Nader still types out his prose on a manual Underwood typewriter.

On Monday, Mr. Underwood traveled to Google headquarters in Mountain View, California.

Nader is not easily dazzled by technological wonders.

Throughout his career, Nader has confronted head-on the downside of nuclear, automobile, genetic engineering and other industrial advances.

And now he's questioning the enormous amount of time we spend in front of our computers.

Has Google and the information revolution that it leads made our society better?

Or is it just another mass diversion from the reality of the corporate takeover of our democracy?

This is Ralph Nader's concept of leadership: confront potential allies with a big "fuck you," then ask for their money and support. Then brag about the whole episode afterwards. I mean, what leadership! What chutzpah! What integrity!

American PMQs? (Via Andrew Sullivan)


Create Your Own Local Field Guide


Lieberman: Even Worse Than You Think

Looks like the Senate Committee on Homeland Security's latest terrorism report wasn't authored by the committee at all, but rather by Independent Democrat Joe Lieberman...

Chip Berlet:

Lieberman is no neophyte on the political scene. He surely knows the report, its release timed as it is to coincide with the heating up of the general election campaigns, will be used for political ends-- to whiplash Barack Obama and to push both Obama and Hillary Clinton toward hard-line policy positions on the Middle East, as well as to more generally soften opposition to civil liberties abuses by the Bush Administration. More than any serious attempt to examine the serious issues it addresses, the report seems a mere election year political trick.

Little and Different



Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Recession? Not For Girl Scouts Cookies


More Reasons Why Organic Isn't Always Good


Olbermann on War and Golf


Rosner Asks Mel Konner For Jewish History in 600 Words

Konner's reply:

The Jewish story in 600 words? If I only had 6, they would be: Israel, conflict; Diaspora, devastation; Israel, conflict. If four more (for future history): Israel, Diaspora, prosperity, peace. (The next two might be ?Wishful thinking.?)

Read the 600-word version.

The Blog Everyone Is Talking About

It's like the USA Today of poli-sci statistics blogs: a spoonful of colorful cartograms helps the delegate math go down.

A Fine, Athletic Man


West Virginia loved F.D.R. “because the Depression had been very tough for them and F.D.R. was kind to them,” [former Washington Monthly editor Charlie] Peters said. (On my father’s trip, he was threatened by a man who asked him about “rumors” that President Roosevelt was in a wheelchair and threatened to thrash any man who said so. My dad, a detective who served on protective details for F.D.R., assured the ruffian that Roosevelt was “a fine, athletic man.”)

The Paranoid Style in Burmese Politics

Alvaro Vargas Llosa calls the Burmese generals the world's worst government (no mean feat)... hyperbole, perhaps, though this is pretty damning evidence:

A regime so paranoid as to have moved the capital north a few years ago because soothsayers had predicted that a natural disaster followed by civil unrest would strike Rangoon, the traditional capital could not allow the population to be gripped by a fear greater than the fear of repression.

Using soothsayers to conduct public policy? (Is this Shakespeare or real life?) Moving the capital to hide from the political fallout of a horrific natural disaster? (Sometimes the soothsayers are right.) Even for a sadistic dictator like Than Shwe, that is above and beyond the call of duty... (what is it about paranoia that makes it -- as Shakespeare realized -- an essential ingredient in history's cruellest extremes of barbarism and inhumanity? I suppose the question answers itself...)

More depressing Burma reading: why we can't just drop supplies into the countryside, via Yglesias.

Is A Mezuzah Superior to a Golf Ball?


A Question For Eco-McCain

We know he doesn't really care about Arizona issues, but what about the blighting of his beloved Grand Canyon?

Gitlin Examines the US-Israel-Iran Pas De Trois (and the Speaking Style of Arrogant People)

On Kissinger: "A certain Henry Kissinger loaded his talk with rumbling cliches and managed the silences between his phrases in a simulation of gravitas... almost nothing he said had any propositional content." This is (I've often noticed) how extremely arrogant people generally talk: because they consider themselves so important, anything they say is ipso facto interesting, so they don't really bother about details like substance, coherence, or brevity.

Anyway, the piece is really about mistaking Ahmadinejad for Hitler rather than Mussolini - and you should read the whole thing.

Beyond the Obesity Crisis...

... lies a lost supermarket.

McCain's Senior-Citizen Senate GOP Comrades Didn't Get the Memo


Murdoch's WSJ: Review & Outlook Seeping Into News?

Jack Shafer detects some Murdochian wishful thinking.

Lionel Trilling's Unfinished Novel

I surmise with some confidence that he would have rather preferred not to see it published.

Ambinder: 7 Ways Edwards Endorsement Is Important

With a couple caveats: 1) Overshadowing NARAL endorsement, which is even bigger in a sense; 2) Elizabeth wasn't there, and still hasn't given her endorsement, which is apparently separate from John's.

UPDATE: There's a poll over at dailykos showing Edwards at 1st place in an Obama veepstakes straw poll.

Shocked, Shocked!

Everyone knows that weekly Jewish newspapers - with a few exceptions, such as New York's Jewish Week and the LA Jewish Journal -- are frightfully un-independent, even when they have no official connection with the local Federation. (I chuckle at the thought of my local weekly, the Connecticut Jewish Ledger, doing any sort of muckraking journalism.) Thus this scandal about some journalistic hanky-panky surrounding the name-change of the Akiba Hebrew Academy in Philadelphia don't impress me much. (What would Rabbi Akiba do in this situation, anyway?)

Carlin Romano on Benny Morris on Israel at 60


Obama's Running Mate


Necessity is the Mother of Invention

Alaskan capital learns conservation the hard way.

Jim Zogby: CLINTON Should Address Race

Opening graf:

On March 18 of this year, Barack Obama delivered a powerful and much-needed address on race in America. It is past time for Hillary Clinton to do the same.

Cynics might retort that she HAS been addressing race after her own fashion... and not on the side of the angels. Anyway, read the whole thing.

Political Science Re-telling of Goldilocks



From today's McCain campaign e-mail:

This week our campaign is promoting John McCain's long-term commitment to providing market-based solutions to climate change and highlighting ways we can all protect our environment. We're also taking this week to launch a new section of our store - complete with eco-friendly items.

In our new store section, we're proud to offer eco-friendly t-shirts and polo shirts made from biodegradable fabric, as well as organic cotton hats and shopping bags. You can also buy travel mugs and notebooks made from recycled materials.

If You Live In New York And Are Looking to Shed A Few Pounds...


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Gas Pumps Go Dry For Lack of Numbers


Editorial Independence

LA Times editorializes against a ballot initiative supported by new TribCo owner Sam Zell.

First Woman to Translate the Aeneid


Einstein's Atheism

Apparently this was a big story today in the blogosphere (as usual, due mainly to Drudge link). Further evidence that well-reasoned atheism never gets old.

GOP Really the Party of the Working Class?

I didn't think so. David Brooks et al. can talk all they want about limousine liberals and the chardonnay-sipping mau-mau radical chic George Soros smart set, but "when it comes to actual support at the ballot box Republican support consistently increases as income level does, and this has been the case since 1972."

Safe For Pets, Murder on Worms

Personally, I'd vote for the slogan "There, there, there."

Bards of Procrastination


Watching Soccer on Yom HaShoah


Monday, May 12, 2008

Tributes to Stephen F. Cohen

Yevgeny Yevtushenko:

Things are not calm and peaceful for Steve Cohen
The fate of Russia always troubles him

Ever and anew it brings him woe
Like a tormenting love of long ago

Through his rusty, Biblical unshavenness
Glimmer ideals that simply were not realized

His own Russia he loves, without concealing
Scorn for the Russia of bureaucrats' wheeling and dealing

In return, through some wizardry, he received
A daughter from a Russian poet's kiss

On the navel of his charming wife Katrina
vanden Heuvel, one of politics' sheer wonders.

Watch out, Calvin Trillin. You've got competition.

AFSCME Ponies Up

The rank-and-file membership can't be happy about this use of their dues.

UPDATE: Indeed.

Penny For McCain's Thoughts

More good questions for John McCain.

McCain's "Bearings-Checker"

Sounds kind of kinky.

Istanbul Dog Incident


The D-Word


A Better Way to Pander on Gas Prices


Specialization: No Johnny-Come-Lately


Al-Jazeera Reports on Hillary and Barack


President Apostate

A Daniel Pipes meme goes viral... so does this mean that BHO is NOT the candidate of Hamas? It's all very confusing.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

You Say Pizza, I Say Apizza, Let's Call the Whole Thing Off

Yglesias endorses New Haven style pizza (or "apizza").

Sharia-Friendly Mutual Fund

Apparently it's been doing very well.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

What If?


Frozen Boulder


NYPD's Secret Marijuana Arrest Crusade

Harsh words from Hentoff. Sounds like "broken windows theory" gone off the deep end.

SNL Politics


Conversion Blues

Forward editorial:

The court may have done the rest of Israel a favor by training a spotlight on the untenable role assigned to the religious establishment in Israel’s evolving society and culture.

Just Another Typical Jewish Family


Obama Porn?


Penny-Saving Efforts to Save Penny


Just Add "Wine" After "White," and Magically You're Not Racist Anymore!



I believe this is the first time anyone in the blogosphere has ever linked to an Anna Quindlen column.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Youtube Video of the Day

Screamin' Jay Hawkins & Serge Gainsbourg do Constipation Blues.

Does Gainsbourg say "Je vais faire kaka" at the end? That's classic.

More Bad Bipartisanship

The Problem With "The Visitor"

I guess I agree with the premise of this review of The Visitor that the film treats Arabs as three-dimensional human beings... but does it treat the main character (who is white) as a three-dimensional human being? Walter Vale is an absurdly caricatured lovable loser straight out of stuffwhitepeoplelike.

White people are people, too!

Ezra Klein Defends Calling Mike Gravel "Looney"

Ezra Klein:

Folks, Gravel is running as a libertarian now. Who supports single payer health care. Previously, he was a Democrat on-board with the fair tax. This is the definition of looney.

Can A Bloated 'Stately Pleasure Dome' From Vegas Really Be "Green?"

Not in any meaningful sense. NPR does a story about the folly of LEED certification.

Rosner: Don't Blame Me!

Haaretz US correspondent pens 37,000th report on Obama's struggle to win over Jewish voters, then declares "My hands are clean when it comes to Obama's popularity among Jews." Whatever you say! (Do these polls comparing HRC and Obama's Jewish support ever control for the fact that at least 25% of US Jews live in the tri-state area - Hillary's backyard?)

Clinton sure knows how to pick her locations. For her hastily scheduled appearance in West Virginia - her bid to show her resilience and defiance - she chose a spot made famous as a hospital for the severely wounded.

Shepherd University's white brick McMurran Hall was under construction as Shepherdstown's town hall in 1862, when the battle of Antietam overwhelmed the city with thousands of wounded; with no place left to go, the bloody and the maimed occupied the still unfinished building -- a bit of history now celebrated in plaques on the front lawn, where supporters listened to Clinton's speech.

Somehow Milbank manages to eschew any extension of the Eight Belles metaphor. (He's a better man than I.) Read the whole thing, if only for the devastating punctiliousness (or perhaps the opposite?) of the punctuation marks, as in "Next Tuesday will be one of the most important elections in this entire process!")

Why Do Jews Love Irish Music?

Um, they do?

Shakespeare Blogging


Censoring the Old Masters


Israel's 60th Birthday Round-Up


Hannah Rosin:

Most non-Christians are aware that there is something called Christian rock. We've all had the slightly unsettling experience of pausing the car radio on a pleasant, unfamiliar ballad until we realized … Ahhh. That's not her boyfriend she's mooning over!

A moment of Aristotelian recognition, indeed.

Local Currencies - A Foot In The Door

Tim Harford considers the utility of local currencies such as Berkshares... I guess I basically agree with his conclusion that it's more style than substance, but style is still important! (Think of recycling - when you factor everything in, it's of pretty marginal benefit to the environment, but the "awareness footprint" is enormous - it gets people into the habit of incorporating sustainable behaviors into their daily lives and all that jazz.)

In The Wake of HRC's Failed Gas Tax Pander

Per Yglesias, a new political era has dawned.

Come On Baby Melt My Copper

Adventures in the scrap trade... this got me to thinking: how much could you get by melting down a Richard Serra?

Dream Ticket - Fuhgeddaboutit

Kos thinks Bill Richardson and Kathleen Sibelius are the best running mates for Obama. I'm loath to question his judgment -- he's had a pretty damn good record this year in terms of predicting the contours of the Democratic race since Super Tuesday, capped off by hitting Hillary's victory margin in Indiana right on the button -- but doesn't grapple at all with the unsavory but difficult-to-refute argument that not having any white males on the ticket is kind of "pushing it" for the Democrats.

For what it's worth, he has Tim Kaine third in the Veepstakes, and Jim Webb (my #1) basically out of the running. No mention of John Edwards.

What Do American Apparel and Hillary Clinton Have In Common?

Hint: the answer has nothing to do with Bill and cigars.

I'm a bit slow on the uptake here, but this WSJ piece from last month on the finances of softcore porn-monger (not that there's anything wrong with that) American Apparel rather evokes the Clinton campaign, with its internecine battles (e.g. between founder Dov Charney and CFO Ken Cieply) played out all-too-publicly in SEC filings... (Did the company actually confess in one filing to have "inadequate expertise in the application of US generally accepted accounting principles?" Almost too good to be true.)

We're talking about a company with $400 million in annual sales here.

Theocracy in America


All too often you see social conservatives aiming at what amount to marginal targets like gay marriage and abortion when the logic of their critique is aimed at stuff like divorce and basic birth control.

Actually, it goes beyond that. Combating divorce and birth control are just two-dimensional projections of these theocrats' real goal, which is to squelch any sexual liberty and autonomy whatsoever. (Whether fornicating couples use birth control matters much less than that the fornication is taking place at all.)

With Friends Like These

Andrew Sullivan: black voters did it. Thanks a lot, Andrew. Some things that are true aren't necessarily worth repeating... or to put it another way, Pat Buchanan already has this ground covered, thank you very much.

McCain Brings Back the Old Abortion = Slavery Meme


Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Hillary's Secret Delegate Stash

Harold Ickes gets it! (Expect much more lying with no accountability in coming days.)

Yet Another Fringe "Religious" Group Sex Scandal


O'Donnell on the "Clinton Nickel"


Should Israel Stop Bankrolling Aliyah?


Disneyland Comes to Baghdad


Middle East = Muslim?

Obviously there's a noteworthy perversity about the capacity to believe Obama is simultaneously a crypto-Muslim while simultaneously being brainwashed by his Christian pastor (as Gershom Gorenberg says, "a one-man repertory theater, as talented as the Jews who were once accused of being bankers, communists, zionists and cosmopolitans all at once"), but Ben Smith seems to read too much into Indianan Mary Bunger's enlightened remarks... and come up with a conclusion that rather resembles what he is criticizing. I don't think "from the Middle East" or even "Anti-Christ" can be equated with Islam unless perhaps you're the little voice in John Hagee's head. (The Anti-Christ is usually represented in Christian theology as an atheist, worshiping only himself.)

UPDATE: She must be crazy because she's a single mother - they've been touched in the head as a result of their blaspheme against the traditional family.

What McCain Told Her

Why does Arianna want to pick a fight about something that can never be verified? As usual, the left needs to do a better job of picking its battles.

UPDATE: Huffpo says this LA Times story corroborates her telling, but I'm not so sure.

Shut Up, I'm Talking

This one's in the mail.

Test For Anti-War GOPers

Should be interesting... (Has Ron Paul campaigned at all for Jones?)

You Just Don't Understand

Jose Canseco:

You know my life, this financial thing, is a very complicated issue. Obviously, when you make all that money, people think, `OK, let's assume it is $35 million.' People have to understand that $35 million, you're paying the government 41 percent. That leaves you with about $17 or $18 million, not even. Then you're taking care of your whole family.

I guess $18 million ain't what it used to be.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Rangel on Wright & Religion

"Interfering" in the "sacred relationship" of pastor and parishioner will "come back to haunt us?" But there is no sacred relationship between McCain and Hagee -- only political calculation and expediency.

And the fact is that if Republicans want to play the guilt-by-association-with-wacky-preacher game, in the long run and perhaps the short run as well it can't help but benefit the Democrats... small consolation for enduring the racial pornography of Wrightgate, but consolation nonetheless. The one proviso is that the media does not operate using a double standard.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Make No Mistake, Bill Is A Huge Ass(et)

He's been pummeled pretty good by the pundits, but there is NO DOUBT in my mind that on balance he's been an enormous help to his wife's campaign.

Drumroll, Please: Guam Weighs In

Obama leads by double digits! (Actually 6% but who's counting?)

Not Your Grandfather's Far Right

British Nationalist Party apparatchik Richard Barnbrook: "If I had to put our concerns in order of importance, I would say: housing, transport, health, education, the environment and law and order." The environmentabove law and order?

Friday, May 02, 2008

Krugman's Misleading Attack


Arab and American Media Compared

James Zogby:

Arab media may not be free, in the sense that there is government ownership and, in varying degrees, interference and censorship. But Arab journalists are free thinkers, and quite serious about expanding their freedom to examine critical issues.

All this stands in interesting contrast to the U.S. media which, while cherishing and boasting of its freedom, is increasingly constrained by factors that have resulted in limiting that freedom. The U.S. press is technically free of government influence, but there are a combination of political, cultural and commercial considerations which have made the U.S. media less free and less inquisitive. The controls are not overt, but subtle and at all times pervasive - and decisive.

On behalf of Charlie Gibson and Tim Russert, all I can say is 'ouch.'

Waiting For Regime Change in Washington

An Israel-Syria deal is looking increasingly possible, provided that there's firm US support. (It's a bit surprising that staunch US ally Turkey has stepped up to the plate in Bush's stead - score another one for moderate Islamism and the AKP!) Bush has taken the hardline neocon stance of trying to completely isolate Syria and pressuring Israel to do the same (while other less radical neocons seem to believe an Israeli detente with Syria could be the crucial step in breaking the back of an ascendant Iran - of course they also see it as a way of ignoring the need for Israeli concessions on the Palestinian front). Obama and Clinton are in the opposing Baker-Hamilton camp. But what's McCain's position? (Or does he even have one? I sense that we'll be asking that a lot in the next few months.)

Analysis of Early Voting in Indiana


Can Humanitarian Aid Workers Really Go On Strike?


Reverend Wright's Jewish Outreach

Hey, some of his best friends are...

Doubtful If Olment Can Continue As PM?

Maybe he should say he can't quit until Michigan and Florida are resolved.

Timothy Noah Uses Bill's Words Against Him

London Mayoral Election Results In: Labour's Apocalypse Now

Tony Blair's legacy to the Labour Party is day by day looking more and more like the Clintons' legacy to the Democratic Party.

UPDATE: Apparently Boris Johnson was born in New York - making him potentially eligible for the US Presidency! BORIS 2012!

Rejecting and Denouncing the Prophet Isaiah

The truly excellent Gershom Gorenberg prepares an alibi (he doesn't remember being there, but if he was, he slept through the sermon) in case he ever runs for public office in Israel.

Bitch Is the New Black

Melinda Henneberger on why HRC is winning the Catholic vote:

Though Saturday Night Live wouldn't seem to be in the vanguard of Catholic thought, Tina Fey may have been onto something with her "Bitch Is the New Black" comparison of Hillary to a cranky but proficient old nun: "Bitches get stuff done; that's why Catholic schools use nuns as teachers and not priests. They're mean … and they sleep on cots, and they're allowed to hit you. And at the end of the school year, you hated those bitches. But you knew the capitol of Vermont."

Pawlenty's Veepstakes Gambit: Out With the Mullet


Real Investigative Reporting About Obama's Shadowy Past


All Eyes On Guam


The Dying Newsroom, Visualized


Vince Foster Times One Thousand

Call up Larry Flynt - this needs serious investigating.

UPDATE: That's what I'm talkin' 'bout! Johnny2k also can't resist mentioning Vince Foster. No word yet from Ken Starr (or his new soul-mate, Sid Blumenthal).

And does this mean another opportunity for Vitter to be forced to testify? Let's hope so.

HRC: Globalization = Nazism?

In other tasteless Nazi analogy news, the ADL doesn't much care for Ben Stein's latest film, the atrociously anti-intellectual and pusillanimous anti-evolution screed Expelled.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Late-Night Thought

Who better than a DNC chair during the Clinton years to know the depth of the Clintons' failure to advance the interests of the Democratic Party ahead of their own parochial interests...


In discussing Faux News's latest act of criminal idiocy,Yglesias wonders about a "underexplored historical counterfactual in which the United States uses a different kind of electoral system -- like popular vote with a run-off -- that resulted in a Stephen Douglas presidency without any change in the underlying shape of public opinion." Is that a dig at Clinton's fuzzy math -- er, counterfactual -- approach to the nominating process?

Middle East Editing Wars


"Very Successful in Containing the Palestinian Issue"

Gidi Greenstein to Jeffrey Goldberg, in response to a question about the importance of settling the conflict with the Palestinians:

I think that we have been very successful in containing the Palestinian issue. What I mean by containing is that day-to-day decisions of the vast majority of the Israel population are unaffected by our conflict with the Palestinians. This is precisely the opposite of what the Palestinians wanted to achieve. They wanted to bring chaos.

I was going to cut out everything but the first sentence of the quote (which would have been misleading) for effect but then I realized it really wasn't necessary: it is astonishing how utterly solipsistic this is, and how far from the answer that a humane person would give to the same question. (Perhaps Marty Peretz is right: you can know a Jewish charlatan when he starts talking about "tikkun olam.")

Best Recent Books On Marxism and Communism

No, YOU Be Serious, Marty


C'mon Barack: your preacher said many truly awful things about America, certainly more awful than that one suggestion that you might be a phony.

Do not go vain on us.

But to distinguish between others' distorted beliefs about the world, and others' assertions about one's own beliefs about the world, makes perfect sense. While others are entitled to believe all sorts of kooky things, they are NOT entitled to tell other people what YOU believe (e.g. "you don't really believe so-and-so; you're only saying that because you're a politician"), or to appropriate something that is not theirs or at least not theirs alone (like the meaning of the 'black church'). To put it in terms Marty can understand, it's fine for him to believe whatever he wants about the Middle East and to support Israel in whatever fashion he chooses, but it is not acceptable for him to define the meaning of 'pro-Israel' for everyone else, any more than it is acceptable for Rev. Wright to pretend to be the ultimate arbiter of what is or isn't the 'black church.' (Actually, these are terms that Marty, alas, cannot understand.)

Hillary's Back-Up Plan?


Been Having Trouble Placing Your Derby Bet Online?

Comparing Wright & Hagee


"May Day is to Labor Day as Martin Luther King, Jr. is to President Lyndon Johnson"

Zephyr Teachout takes Hillary Clinton's remarks in South Carolina as her point of departure in these May Day thoughts.

Dangerously mis-readable sentence: "In religious-right book news, the late Rev. Jerry Falwell's wife, Macel, has a new book about her husband coming out next month." I would probably have placed "coming out" after "new book" rather than after "her husband," just in order to, you know, avoid any confusion.

Analysis of McCain's Plan to Kick Russia Out of G-8: Total Bullshit


Criticism of Errol Morris's Abu Ghraib Documentary From The Left


More American Than Apple Pie

Agreed, seventeen states is a lot of states to neglect to pay income tax in. He must have been using Wesley Snipes's accountant. But I would draw a distinction between not paying taxes and not paying parking tickets - not paying taxes in seventeen states is a white-collar offense that only a wealthy investor or Hollywood celebrity (in other words, a snooty member of the socio-economic elite) can accomplish, whereas VIRTUALLY EVERYONE I KNOW blows off the occasional parking ticket. There's nothing the least bit elitist about it, unless you're racking them up under cover of diplomatic immunity or something like that...

Tom Friedman, "Left-Leaning Columnist"

Please, JMart, tell me there's some irony there. To paraphrase Eric Alterman, What Liberal Friedman?

UPDATE: Friedman positioned to the left of Krugman on gas tax squabble?

Speaking the Unspeakable

Comparing VandeHarris's new piece, "What Obama Wishes He Could Say," with its predecessor, "What Clinton Wishes She Could Say," I'm struck by the fact that she's actually said a helluva lot of what she couldn't say. The authors suggest an equivalence, moral or otherwise, that just isn't there (oddly, under the guise of being 'fair' to Obama).