November 08, 2006
History, Spin, And The New Congress
by Eric RauchwayHere is a chart (data here) showing Democratic representation in the Congress since the New Deal; the black bar indicates the threshold for a majority. It's way too soon to say anything really meaningful about this, but here are two of my thoughts: 1. You could spin this as a narrow, non-ideological, throw-the-bums out victory.
'the Guardian' And Israel
On its front page yesterday, November 7, The Guardian trumpeted a speech it was reprinting by David Grossman, the well-known (I think more than a little precious, but no matter) Israeli novelist. Grossman gave the address at a huge memorial meeting for Yitzhak Rabin in Tel Aviv on the fifth anniversary of the prime minister's assassination. "What has happened to my beloved Israel?" cries out the headline, placed directly under the Zionist banner, two blue stripes and a Star of David on a white field.
November 07, 2006
by Jacob T. LevyThis isn't very scholarly of me, but I'm just too delighted not to say: good-bye to Senator Man On Dog. In memoriam, the transcript, one last time. SANTORUM: We have laws in states, like the one at the Supreme Court right now, that has sodomy laws and they were there for a purpose. Because, again, I would argue, they undermine the basic tenets of our society and the family.
Well, wouldn't you know it? Now that Saddam Hussein has been condemned to execution by hanging, there appears to be great agitation in the world about his death sentence. It seems to me that maybe there should be a consensus on a few people in the world who actually deserve to be executed. How about Osama bin Laden for one? Or, looking backwards, Hitler or Goebbels?
My Vote For Speaker
Yes, the mind wanders in Paris, and it wanders freely. Here's a thought that is on many people's minds but has not come off many people's tongues. Nancy Pelosi should not be speaker of the House. Rahm Emanuel should be. He is smarter, more savvy, understands the political middle as both norm and fact. And he is extremely likeable, truly trustworthy, a politician of honor and imagination. Imagine someone out of the Clinton White House who emerged untainted by even a whiff of scandal. Unlike other pols who used to raise Democratic money from me, he was not a hustler.
November 06, 2006
For all its mind-blowing details of administration ineptitude, Bob Woodward's third installment in his Bush at War trilogy hardly tells you much that you didn't already know. Of course George W. Bush lacks intellectual curiosity. Of course Donald Rumsfeld is a villain for the ages. But there's one particular revelation in the book that stands out for its plain weirdness: Henry Kissinger's presence in the Oval Office. According to Woodward, Bush treats Kissinger "almost like a member of the family," free to visit as he pleases.
For all its mind-blowing details of administration ineptitude, Bob Woodward's third installment in his Bush at War trilogy hardly tells you much that you didn't already know. Of course George W. Bush lacks intellectual curiosity. Of course Donald Rumsfeld is a villain for the ages. But there's one particular revelation in the book that stands out for its plain weirdness: Henry Kissinger's presence in the Oval Office.
The Wrong Target?
by Jacob T.
November 05, 2006
The surest way to map Iraq's ethnic and sectarian fault lines is by how quickly a U.S. helicopter flies over them. Choppers race over Sunni areas, nearly sideways to the ground in some places. But, a few miles outside of the town of Sinjar by the Syrian border, the Blackhawks slow to a leisurely speed: Yezidi live below. These ancient people, who number in the thousands and consider themselves neither Christian nor Muslim, cherish their occupiers. Yezidi party leader Waad Hamed Modo greets me in a Sinjar courtyard with his own testimonial. "I met recently with Sunnis in Baghdad," he says.
November 04, 2006
Don't Get Too Excited!
by Sanford LevinsonThanks to the Constitution, elections are far less important than you might think (or hope). Like (presumably) most participants in Open University, I am anticipating--and intensely hoping for--a good night for the Democrats. But, in line with my argument that we have an undemocratic Constitution that makes its own contribution to our political dysfunctionality, I want to mention some cautionary notes: 1) Even if the Democrats get a hefty majority of votes for candidates running for the Senate, they may not regain it.