Disaster

China Gets Serious on Climate - But Is It Enough?
August 26, 2009

Let's start with the good news: Regardless of what you've heard from grumbling senators here in the United States, the Chinese government is taking global warming seriously. China Daily reports that the country may soon put in place binding rules to regulate its greenhouse-gas emissions, according to a still-circulating draft resolution. Various stage agencies, meanwhile, have been gaming out scenarios in which the country's emissions peak in the next decade or two and then decline.

Beware: Do Not Read if All You Want Is an Intellectual Fix for One of Your Political Prejudices. This Is Serious Stuff!
August 26, 2009

Jeffrey Herf is one of the pre-eminent intellectual historians of totalitarianism. He is a frequent contributor to The New Republic. See, for example, his last few contributions here, here, and here. You can also find a TNR review of one of his books, Divided Memory: The Nazi Past in the Two Germanys, here. In the current issue of The American Interest, Herf makes a highly convincing argument that radical Islam today is in fact a totalitarian movement with totalitarian ideology and totalitarian methods. No, it is not Nazism or Communism.

Triumph And Tragedy
August 26, 2009

Over the past 40 years, Edward Moore Kennedy was the grand statesman of the Democratic liberalism that emerged out of the 1960s. He was a loyalist to his principles even when those principles fell completely out of fashion. He overcame personal flaws and searing travails to become a masterful legislator, congressional infighter, and builder of unlikely coalitions. Ironically, he achieved all of this only after he had surmounted the political entitlement that made his career possible in the first place.

The Logic of Reappointing Bernanke
August 24, 2009

The big news from Martha's Vineyard is that Obama is appointing Ben Bernanke to a second term as Fed chairman. I've explained before why I think this is a good idea--Bernanke has been creative, even highly unorthodox, at precisely the moment when the economy demanded these qualities from the Fed, and when a conservative, by-the-book approach would have likely sent us into a depression.

Down Under
August 24, 2009

SYDNEY, Australia--The hardest slogan to sell in politics is: "Things could have been a whole lot worse." No wonder President Obama is having trouble defending his stimulus plan. If governments around the world, including our own, had not acted aggressively--and had not spent piles of money--a very bad economic situation would have become a cataclysm. But because the cataclysm was avoided, this is an invisible achievement. Many whose bacon was saved, particularly in the banking and corporate sectors, do not want to admit how important the actions of government were.

Revising The Target
August 16, 2009

The piece I posted last Friday has unleashed a torrent of criticism. Alas, some of it is based on a misunderstanding of what I said, and much of it reflects an unwillingness to face political reality. I did not--repeat, did not--propose "abandoning health reform." Here's what I said: [T]he president would be well advised to focus more on the economy over the next three years, and to persuade average Americans that the economy is as central to his concerns as is it to theirs.

Being Human
August 15, 2009

Quiet Chaos -- IFC Films The Girl From Monaco -- Magnolia Pictures Nanni Moretti, treasured in Europe, is scarcely known in the United States. This schism usually happens with film people whose work is strapped culturally to one country, but Moretti's writing and directing and acting are not only celebrated in Italy, they have prospered elsewhere. Not here, however, though his strongest concern is human commonality. Sometimes, in a career that began in 1973, he has appeared in films directed by others. This is true of his latest, Quiet Chaos.

An Idea For Chuck Norris And Company
August 12, 2009

Ed Kilgore is managing editor of The Democratic Strategist, a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute, and a frequent contributor to a variety of political journals. A big part of the fight against health reform right now involves the identification of specific provisions in the House bill that are then distorted, taken out of context, or otherwise twisted to create the impression of some scary or monstrous outrage.

Apples And Oranges
August 12, 2009

Ed Kilgore has a puzzling article on our website today, in which he compares opponents of the president's health care plan to anti-gay bigots. Kilgore begins by arguing that the real motivation of most people who oppose gay marriage is that they just don't like gay people.

An Idea For Chuck Norris And Company
August 12, 2009

Ed Kilgore is managing editor of The Democratic Strategist, a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute, and a frequent contributor to a variety of political journals. A big part of the fight against health reform right now involves the identification of specific provisions in the House bill that are then distorted, taken out of context, or otherwise twisted to create the impression of some scary or monstrous outrage.

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