June 30, 2008
The Border Fence Folly
In this political season, immigration is the issue that everyone’s taking pains not to discuss. The presidential candidates are merely paying the same lip service to border security. Congress has all but abandoned comprehensive immigration reform, and the Bush administration continues to pile all their immigration-policy eggs in the border-security basket. But that doesn’t mean nothing is happening.
"I've Totally Been There, Dude"
During the 1980s, I lived in Venice intermittently for a couple of years. I would spend a month there, then three in Oxford, another two months in Venice, then two in Madrid, and so on. I didn't live like a tourist in Venice; instead, I tried to fit in with the lives of the people who were kind enough to welcome me into their homes, although naturally, I would look in at the odd church or palace if I happened to pass one on my daily walks. I used to go to the Rialto market, to the street market in Campo San Barnaba and to the supermarket in Campo Santa Margherita.
Where the Wild Reactionaries Are
WASHINGTON--If the long conservative era that began with Ronald Reagan's election is over, will the judges appointed during the right's ascendancy be able to block, frustrate and undermine the efforts of a new progressive majority?Consider this analysis from two influential journalists describing Supreme Court justices as "the last hope of the conservative interests in the United States."Imagine, they write, that a new liberal approach to the country's problems "had been overwhelmingly approved both in Congress and at the polling booths," so "conservative interests resorted to the courts, star
Via Matt Yglesias, an interesting post from Tim Lee on the subject of Brink Lindsey's excellent book The Age of Abundance. Lee writes: Too many libertarians seem to define libertarianism as a very specific and restrictive political program: as a laundry list of government programs to be abolished, or equivalently as a very short list of government programs that won’t be abolished. By that measure, libertarianism is nowhere close to successful.
From Kerry To Obama
Barack Obama is a better candidate than his predecessor John Kerry in at least one important sense: he opposes a state constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, namely, in California. Over the weekend, Obama released a letter saying: "I oppose the divisive and discriminatory efforts to amend the California Constitution, and similar efforts to amend the U.S. Constitution or those of other states." That's quite a departure from the position Kerry and his runningmate, John Edwards, took in 2004.
Whither The Dlc? Cont'd
First Read picks up on where Obama won't be when the DLC ends it "national conversation" today: The centrist Democratic Leadership Council is holding its national meeting in Chicago. What’s interesting is that Obama isn’t attending. In addition, no Democratic presidential contender attended last year’s meeting, either.
Bobby Jindal Watch
On the heels of his recall petition, this from the Times-Picayune: Gov. Bobby Jindal's legislative director has resigned after serving fewer than six months with the new administration, which is embroiled in a controversy over the Legislature's large pay raise. ... Williams' resignation comes at a moment of intensely strained relations between Jindal and the Legislature, which adjourned last week from its third lawmaking session this year.
June 29, 2008
Bush 1, Un 0
"Africa presented with biggest test yest." So reads a headline over an article in Saturday's FT. Actually, I'm not sure what exactly has been Africa's "biggest test yet." A case can surely be made that it is Darfur. But the slaughter there is being done by Arab Muslims and against black Muslims.
Seymour Hersh's latest piece on the Bush Administration and Iran has some good reporting on the Democratic Congressional leadership's clumsy attempt to juggle an agressive executive branch, their own oversight responsibilities, and Obama's vow to negotiate with Iran. There is also some new information on the administration's increasing support for opposition groups within Iran. However, the sexiest anecdote in the article is mentioned almost off-handedly: The former official said that, a few weeks later, a meeting took place in the Vice-President’s office.
June 27, 2008
Deutschland Unter Alles
Don’t try to pretend that you thought it would end any other way. Don’t kid yourself--or the rest of us--and say that you thought Turkey had a chance in Wednesday’s European Championship semifinal. Even when the Turks equalized with just four minutes left, you knew, deep down, that Germany was the more likely side to score in extra time. And as for penalties, if it came to that, well, the Germans had not missed with 21 consecutive spot-kicks in previous shoot-outs. Sure, Turkey had beaten Croatia on penalties. But Germany?