April 24, 2008
Music To Torture By
Back in 1961, director Billy Wilder had a pretty good laugh at rock's expense. In One, Two, Three, his zingy satire of politics and consumer culture, a Commie sympathizer is tortured into submission by repeated plays of Brian Hyland’s novelty hit "Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini." At the time, the bit must have provoked plenty of guffaws, especially from rock haters who saw the music as harbinger of societal decline.
North Korea's Syria Gambit
Well, here's the news from Israel and its wonderful neighbors, some of it via Washington.President Bush reassured visiting Palestinian Authorities president Mahmoud Abbas that by the time there's a new tenant in the White House, Israel and the P.A.
Hey, They Look Asian!
As was widely reported this morning, U.S. officials today laid out the intelligence we have about that mysterious Syrian site the Israelis bombed in September. The New York Times story gave me the impression that the evidence was pretty compelling, since the decision to reveal it had apparently sparked heated internal debate between the Cheneyites and moderates within the administration. Upon closer inspection, though--at least from the reports that have come out so far--the evidence looks a little flimsier.
This time it allegedly involves his nemesis Patrick Fitzgerald, the U.S.
Everybody who follows health care policy is talking about an article in the latest edition of The Hill: "Dems Hedge on Health Care." The article, written by Manu Raju, has on-the-record quotes from two Democratic Senators--Max Baucus and Jay Rockefeller--seriously lowering expectations for what Congress might be able to accomplish next year, no matter who is in the White House come January 2009. For the last year, momentum for universal health care has been buildilng.
April 23, 2008
The End of the End of History
I. In the early 1990s, optimism was understandable. The collapse of the communist empire and the apparent embrace of democracy by Russia seemed to augur a new era of global convergence. The great adversaries of the Cold War suddenly shared many common goals, including a desire for economic and political integration. Even after the political crackdown that began in Tiananmen Square in 1989 and the disturbing signs of instability that appeared in Russia after 1993, most Americans and Europeans believed that China and Russia were on a path toward liberalism.
Disputations: "Change To Lose"
Alyssa Rosenberg’s article “Change to Lose” is imbalanced and inaccurate in its account of the Change to Win alliance. The seven unions of Change to Win joined together two years ago to challenge the labor movement to develop a new organizing model that empowers workers to rebuild bargaining power and restore the American Dream for working families. Seventy-five percent of Change to Win’s budget is dedicated to the Strategic Organizing Center to organize workers on an industry-wide basis in the key sectors of the new American economy.
No Really, You Should Go
Last week, Senator Pat Leahy suggested that Hillary Clinton ought to quit the presidential race. How insensitive! How boorish! Pundits gasped, Clinton took umbrage, and even Barack Obama was forced to concede that Clinton has the right to run for as long as she desires. The persistent weakness of American liberalism is its fixation with rights and procedures at any cost to efficiency and common sense.
Anne Lauvergeon (or "Atomic Anne," as the press calls her) is the fourteenth most powerful woman in the world, according to Forbes. She owes this rank, and her nickname, to the fact that she heads the French nuclear company Areva. Three weeks ago, Lauvergeon made an appearance at Harvard's Center for the Environment. And, when she strode to the lectern, she set about toying with the expectations of her audience.
Food For Thought
WASHINGTON--In the 1830s, Richard Cobden and John Bright started a campaign against the protectionist laws that were keeping food prices high in Britain. After sustaining abuse for many years, they persuaded the government in 1846 to repeal the infamous Corn Laws, a move that helped usher in a long period of prosperity. I have been thinking intensely about these 19th-century heroes lately.