JUN
20
2008
Driving Like Jehu

What drives oil prices? Everyone has a theory that suits their ideological niche—Democrats blame lack of regulation, Republicans blame too much regulation, and the rest of us wonder why prices aren’t higher than they are already. Earlier this month, Congress got an earful from a variety of oil experts on both sides of the ideological […]

NOV
06
2007
Why I Am A Pacifist

I missed the anti-war rally last weekend. I’d call it a peace rally, but nobody’s really for ‘peace’ anymore; the majority of the country still thinks the war in Afghanistan was justified, and they’re even receptive to bombing Iran. Even the majority of the country who is now against the Iraq war isn’t really against […]

OCT
13
2007
Fall Behind

Dear readers, you may be wondering what I’ve been up to, since lately dispatches are few and I never call anymore. Well, I’ve been working on a book. If you want a copy of the proposal, e-mail me and I’ll send it to you. For the purposes of this website, the proposal is to be […]

AUG
20
2007
Everyone But Thee And Me

Welcome to another edition of actual casual asides, seasoned as usual with gotchas and I-told-you-sos. Ask Not For Whom The Bell Tolls… The United States and our allies have no rational interest in disclosing how many people we’ve killed in Iraq and Afghanistan if that number is inclusive of civilians. “We don’t do body counts,” […]

JUL
31
2007
The World Would Swing, If I Were King

The foreign policy spat between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton couldn’t have been scripted better for the mainstream media. It’s also the reason why watching politics in America drives me crazy. The great triangulation has begun. Lyndon Johnson had the Texas two-step, and the Clintons have the Sister Souljah moment. It’s one of their ways […]

JUL
12
2007
A Rose By Any Other Name

Sometimes I wonder how many times I can restate essentially the same points about Iraq. I’ve been doing it for over four years now. I suppose I should derive some satisfaction from the fact that the majority of Americans are now against the war. Unfortunately, that’s like the majority of Americans being against the Big […]

MAY
28
2007
They’ve Plucked, They’ve Sown, They’ve Hollowed Him In

The thrashing of Iraq continues. Today is Memorial Day, when America traditionally celebrates the deaths of its military men and women by going to the beach and wearing funereal shades of white and so forth. Speaking of symbolic dates, I propose a new slogan for the anti-war marchers for the summer season: “Out By September […]

MAY
18
2007
Change A Light Bulb, Save Darfur

I can’t quite put my finger on why I’ve singled Republican Presidential candidate Duncan Hunter out as my bête noire, but I have, so deal with it. Hunter isn’t as dangerous to civil rights as, say, Sam Brownback, or as connivingly amoral as Rudy Giuliani, but there’s something about him that just rubs me the […]

MAY
10
2007
If The Hoods Don’t Get You, The Monoxide Will

As I mentioned earlier, the Democrats don’t have enough backbone to do.. well, nothing, and let the Iraq war end in 180 days. So, they’re going to continue to fund the war in some fashion, likely by insisting on “benchmarks,” which is now the catchphrase du jour . As with everything else about the American […]

MAY
06
2007
Four More Years

Today is this blog’s fourth birthday, and as you can see, I’ve done a bit of a redesign. The old design was intentionally cluttered, because that’s how my desk looks. But I figured that, as I say at the bottom of all my e-mails, “non sunt multiplicanda entia praeter necessitam,” which means not to multiply […]

APR
26
2007
Cannon Fodder

C-SPAN is getting better and better with the Democrats putting the investigations front and center. I have to say it’s thrilling to watch Republicans squirm after years of this bullshit going the other way. Kucinich, bless him, is even going after Dick Cheney with articles of impeachment. I am a big fan of this approach, […]

APR
10
2007
Ultimately, The Buck Stops Nowhere

Four years into the occupation in Iraq and it's still going on, despite the mounting frustrations of all involved. My writing on the subject has begun to resemble a post-mortem on a still-living body. I felt like I was beating a dead horse in 2005

APR
10
2007
Round and Round

Being philosophically-self aware is a very special kind of hell. The simpler your thinking, the more complicated your life becomes. While other people have no problems with the inherently self-contradictory, people like me get stuck on little details like how the entire world has obviously gone totally batshit. I had this problem with the war […]

APR
08
2007
Start The Selective Outrage Machine

I know I’ve ragged on Pope Benedict before for being a Nazi, but I do feel compelled to quote his Easter speech yesterday morning: How many wounds, how much suffering there is in the world! Natural calamities and human tragedies that cause innumerable victims and enormous material destruction are not lacking. … I am thinking […]

APR
05
2007
Kill Your Idols

Oh, Christopher Hitchens. I used to be your biggest fan. I hate Mother Theresa and Bill Clinton just like you. I even forgave your support of the war in the early days of the invasion, because I knew you sympathize with the plight of Kurdistan. But you don’t return my e-mails or call. And then […]

MAR
30
2007
An Unpublished Hermit's Letters, Vol. 4

I'm in the middle of this really long, drawn out criticism of Christopher Hitchens' "I wasn't right, but I wasn't wrong" piece on Slate from last week, but it's taking way too long to pen and you, dear readers, are probably wondering what the hell is going on. So, I substitute a letter I wrote […]

MAR
15
2007
When You Hit 18, Stick to Civilian Life

I'm back from the valley of the shadow of blog death with an old favorite

JAN
16
2007
The Way To Win At Gambling Is To Leave When You're Ahead

Right off the bat, I'm going to make an embarrassing admission–several, actually. Earlier, I quoted Clausewitz as saying block|Clausewitz also said, the best way to attack a powerful enemy is to attack the weakness in their greatest strength.|block Clausewitz did not say this. Al Ries and Jack Trout said it. "Who?" I hear you cry. […]

JAN
09
2007
Dashing The Troops Against Iraq With Surging Tides

So the President is planning a surge, is he? All the warning signs are there–Dad’s friends on the Iraq Study Group embarrassed him, and he knows he has to announce some kind of change, so why not go for broke and double down on America’s military future? So The SurgeTM gets floated in some neoconservative […]

DEC
08
2006
Don’t Let That Giant Wooden Horse Into The… Sigh.

I started this blog on May 6th, 2003. For the previous few months, basically since I left Montreal, I had been working on a book at a maddeningly slow pace. The title was to be, “The End of the American Century,” and the premise was that in a hundred years or so, history students would […]

NOV
20
2006
It Was the Best of Times, It Was the Worst of Times

So the Democrats have won back the Congress without a coherent plan to get us out of the war, and no wonder; Bush is still Commander-in-Chief and his lawyers have argued the President's position on Constitutional matters to the point that to call it a 'coup' would be stretching the truth only slightly. The Democrats, […]

OCT
25
2006
Forsake All Hope, Those Who Enter Into Iraq Debates

Less than a week from the mid-term elections and I’m starting to get worried that either a) the Democrats will lose, and b) the Democrats will win. Don’t Count Your Chicken-hawks Before They Hatch Smart people have a problem. They’re outnumbered by idiots. This is not necessarily meant as a jibe against either party, you […]

SEP
09
2006
Offers We Should All Refuse

Now that I'm working for the good folks at a{http://www.mediachannel.org”>MediaChannel}a, and trying to write a book about technology (ever so slowly), I find that I haven't been blogging very much. One of the reasons I started this blog in the first place was to help me keep writing every day. In fact, I started out […]

SEP
04
2006
Being Objective About Objectives

Since my last post, the Middle East broke out into yet another war between right-wing militarists and Islamist militias, and President Bush went on a rhetorical offensive to shore up support for the war in Iraq (he hardly seems to mention Afghanistan anymore). Even though I haven’t posted on my blog for a while, I […]

JUN
07
2006
Why Shoot The Messenger

Recently, David Asman of Fox News’ program “Forbes on Fox” asked the following question: “Bashing our military: seems like it’s a new sport for our media! But could all the negative headlines and lack of reporting about anything positive our brave men and women are doing there hurt America and our markets?” Naturally, Asman turns […]

MAR
31
2006
Weekend Sampler

<b>Abuse of Civil rights and Procedures</b> The lovely and always well-researched Ren has a really remarkable piece on the Nation website about the recent South Dakota Abortion Task Force, which was basically a front for a single State Rep's plan to challenge Roe v. Wade ASAP. The extended version of the piece is here, there's […]

MAR
19
2006
Iran’s Not So Far Away

With the third anniversary of the War in Iraq, our attentions have turned, naturally, to Iran. A while ago (before Iran’s nuclear program was making front-page news), I was talking to a friend about liberal interventionism, and of course, Iran came up. What did I ultimately propose to do, she asked, about the human rights […]

MAR
02
2006
While We’re Twiddling Our Thumbs

It’s a busy week; there hasn’t been much time for blogging lately. I was considering posting something about it that read, “light posting ahead, sorry folks.” Then I remembered I don’t post that often in the first place, so I won’t be making any apologies. Ha! There’s a quality/quantity tradeoff, especially when it comes to […]

FEB
23
2006
Hello, Seekers

Just wanted to thank everyone who’s been coming to this humble little blog lately. My traffic has doubled, due in no small part to my fellow Koufax nominees linking to my recent post about the whole British-to-Emirate ports deal. Then there are all the people looking up either David Sanborn or Muhammad Sharaf, sometimes in […]

FEB
21
2006
I'll Really Give You Something To Cry About

This weekend news came that the Bush Administration had approved the sale of Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation (a.k.a. "P & O"), the fourth-largest port operations firm in the world, to DP World, the seventh-largest. P & O is a British company, and DP World is owned by the United Arab Emirates. P & O […]

DEC
16
2005
The Tortured Logic of Torture Apologists

Dear Dr. Krauthammer, I came across your article in the Weekly Standard which argued for two hypothetical exceptions from a blanket ban on torturing prisoners by the U.S. government. I must tell you how strongly I disagree with your conclusions merely on practical grounds (to say nothing of the morality of torturing detainees, a complicated […]

NOV
18
2005
Open Source the Government

I've been working on proposals for the Democratic platform. House Democrats beat me to part of it a few days ago, so I figured I might as well share part of it with you today: environmental policy. Even if you don't have cancer or asthma or water damage or mercury poisoning, you probably know someone […]

OCT
10
2005
He Should Give It Again, Maybe Next Time In Blackface

Bush’s October 6th speech at the National Endowment for Democracy was so close to self-parody that for once, Bush’s smirks were actually humorous. It was like a Friar’s Club Speech, if the friars were experts on Middle East affairs. The theme of this speech is the comparison (more precisely, the equation) of Islamist terrorism to […]

AUG
29
2005
The Mother of All War Protests

As the pro-war contingent of American politics becomes increasingly desperate–oh, who am I kidding, it’s actually just standard operating procedure on both sides of the aisle–we have progressed to ad hominem attacks on prominent anti-war media figures. As with the Dixie Chicks, Michael Moore, Tim Robbins, and so forth, we now have hawks trying to […]

AUG
18
2005
Embargoes and the Limits of Government Market Controls

My friend Elephant sometimes says that he’s a pro-market liberal. But he often makes the excellent point that markets are always created by the state. It’s not just regulation which shapes and produces markets; there are the limits of enforcement as well as the means for chartering corporations. Now, I had been harboring some vestigial […]

AUG
11
2005
The Ends-Means Problem in Chart Form

Often, people think that when I argue with them about the war on terror, or the war in Iraq, or the war in Afghanistan, that I am somehow traitorous or ‘morally indistinguishable’ from a fifth-columnist or Al-Qaeda terrorists. Especially when I note that many of their political complaints are founded (though as I’m sure you […]

JUL
26
2005
Do As We Say, Not As We Do. Or Die.

Make no mistake, everyone who is involved in (American) politics, whether professionally or intellectually, wants to be the President (of the United States); even if only for a day. My problem is that I am, and always have been, totally unelectable–never won an election, probably never will. For one thing, Americans will vote for blacks […]

JUL
18
2005
What Shall We Do With A Drunken Sailor?

Sometimes, when I talk about the foibles of our policies, people ask me, "well, what do you propose?" which is a good question. I prefer strategies which really look to the future, so here are some fun ways for us lefties to think two steps ahead: 1) Regardless of what Karl "The King of Plausible […]

JUL
17
2005
Let Me Tell You The Story of the Narrative Ontology

With the third anniversary of the War in Iraq, our attentions have turned, naturally, to Iran. A while ago (before Iran’s nuclear program was making front-page news), I was talking to a friend about liberal interventionism, and of course, Iran came up. What did I ultimately propose to do, she asked, about the human rights […]

JUL
14
2005
Justice and Freedom, or Vengeance and Imperialism?

While I was busying myself with other pursuits, Eric’s post about Iraq and Al-Qaeda seems to have prompted a really good discussion with Matt of Cerulean Blue and Mike of No Angst Zone (as always, I’ve arrived stylishly late to the party). In the thick of all this, Mike comes up with an essentially flawed […]

JUL
11
2005
An Omnibus Responsa, Ceteris Paribus

Two recent posts on blogs I read regularly have been bothering me: most disturbing is Time for the West to Close its Borders to Muslim Immigrants over at The Kvetcher, and the other one is DadaHead's post linking to Prof. Brian Leiter's "This is how we shall preach to the converted" manifesto. I'll take on […]

JUL
03
2005
The Most Relevant Reality TV Show Ever

Last week, I pitched a TV show to a certain famous filmmaker and TV producer, and I have yet to hear a response. So, I figure I might as well share it with you, dear readers, because based on the horrified responses I get from other people I tell about it, it’ll never get made. […]

JUN
22
2005
Focusing on Blurry Distinctions

More back-and-forth about torture and whether or not the Geneva Convention ought to apply to people suspected of terrorism (who do they think they are, Nazis?) prompted a little more research on my part, which is how I found the following excerpt from an AP report from June 17th 2005 entitled "Top U.S. attorney defends […]

JUN
22
2005
I've Called a Tune To Many a Torture Session/Now They Say I am a War Criminal

It's official, Eric Grumbles Before the Grave is my new favorite site to troll for argument-picking. Yesterday Eric took a fine sentiment likeblock|Dean [Esmay] gives some good advice on how to make comparisons of things you find abhorrent, including this pearl: Here's a suggestion for serious-minded critics: why not stop with the invidious comparisons entirely, […]

JUN
15
2005
Penalties for Early Withdrawal

With the leaks of two classified documents from the British government showing, shall we say, "concern" within the British government for Bush's ersatz <i>causus belli</i> and the lack of post-war planning, even former war supporters like Rep. Walter "Freedom Fries" Jones are losing their faith. Although Congress voted down a measure demanding a withdrawal timetable […]

MAY
25
2005
May I Suggest a Really Historic Compromise?

The Baffler, which I will go on record as saying is the best magazine in America (even though it is even more irregularly published than the magazine I work for), had a very interesting piece about the National Rifle Association several issues ago. It talked about a single NRA convention in the sixties when the […]

MAY
10
2005
…And Proliferation Became the Word of the Day

When I was in Washington a few weeks ago, I had what amounted to a six-hour layover in downtown DC, which is a fancy way of saying I missed the morning bus and was stuck with nothing to do and lots to carry. So I walked over to the White House, where a group of […]

MAR
17
2005
Poisoning the Well

As I mentioned earlier, many people are now considering the latest positive evelopments in the Middle East as proof that our heavy-handed approach to foreign policy might not be pretty, but that it "gets results." (Didn't I hear Jon Stewart with a variation of this meme on the Daily Show a while ago?) Wars, when […]

MAR
03
2005
High Tide in the Backwaters

Given recent events in the Middle East, many people are wondering if perhaps Bush and the neoconservatives aren’t right about our military ventures and the Bush foreign policy. Specifically, people are looking at: The successful elections in Iraq, the developments in Lebanon, municipal elections in Saudi Arabia, and the Mubarak’s promise of reform in Egypt. […]

FEB
12
2005
Things Ain't What They Used To Be

Devotees of the President's foray into neoconservative flavored <i>realpolitik</i> must be scratching their heads at North Korea's recent pronouncements that a) they have nuclear weapons, and b) screw you, America. The United States, simultaneously the owner of the world's largest nuclear arsenal and leading proponent of nuclear disarmament, has demanded an end to nuclear programs […]

FEB
02
2005
Overstatement of the Union

One of the reasons I don’t like watching the President on television (other than the inevitable shards on the ground and stains on the wall behind the TV set) is that I despise the theatrical aspect of politics. Emotional appeals of the type we saw last night are great at obscuring the issues at hand. […]

JAN
18
2005
Not Psychic, Just Well-Read

A little over a year ago, I wrote about the failure of the flypaper theory, put forth by Andrew Sullivan and parroted by the administration. What we are doing in Iraq, dear readers, is running the world's foremost terrorist training camp. Lo and behold, a National Intelligence Committee report was just released saying the <b>exact […]

JAN
17
2005
Inaugurate This

Have you been hearing about Bush's inaugural festivities? Why, it seems that 200 of the President's closest pals have thrown together a party replete with nine… well, balls, including:<ul><li>CONSTITUTION BALL (Washington Hilton), <li>FREEDOM BALL (Union Station), <li>INDEPENDENCE BALL,<li>TEXAS WYOMING BALL,<li>LIBERTY BALL,<li>DEMOCRACY BALL, <li>PATRIOT BALL,<li>STARS AND STRIPES BALL, all at the Convention Center, and of course, […]

OCT
12
2004
The Real Question Neither Candidate Can Truthfully Answer

You know, it occurs to me that all of those who supported the war at first but are now against it (I'm looking at you, Mr. Kerry) have this credibility problem when it comes to honestly assessing our rush to war. At this point, Bush's only defense, the only rational defense, is to say that […]

OCT
06
2004
The Best Defense is the Best Defense

I was walking in and out of the vice presidential debates at work last night, and I heard Edwards say (and presumably Cheney agree) that “the best defense is a good offense” with regard to terrorism. Let’s block that sports metaphor, shall we? One of the problems the Bush administration (and, sounds like possibly the […]

OCT
03
2004
If You Can't Beat 'Em, Beat 'Em Harder

Permit me to further explore the point about how we ought not draw an artificial distinction between the U. S. invasion pre- and post-Saddam. This is the kind of thing that really gets me steamed–when people say that the point of the war was to make America safer by removing Saddam from power. I know […]

OCT
01
2004
Everything is Debatable

I know you're all waiting for me to say something about the debates last night, but I'm not ready to give a full analysis yet. I mean, I can just come out and say Kerry won, but what I find interesting about US politics is how the propaganda machine will spin it. So I caught […]

SEP
27
2004
Killing Them With Kindness

Ever since the whole "preventing the use of WMD" rationale for the war in Iraq fell apart, hawks have been pretending we did it because the Bush Administration is so concerned with human rights, particularly for those poor Iraqis who we "liberated" but whose land we do not "occupy." You, dear readers, cannot let people […]

SEP
23
2004
By Jingo/We Have Got/The Gatling Gun/And They Have Not

I was talking with a friend about patriotism today. I maintained that there are different kinds of patriotism; there’s the jingoistic kind and the civic kind. The most succinct way I can state the difference is that civic patriots support their government by voting and paying (all) their taxes, while jingoistic patriots support the American […]

SEP
15
2004
We Broke It, We Blew It

When I hear a meme twice in one day, I feel compelled to address it. Today, that meme is the "you break it, you bought it" with regard to Iraq. The idea is that because we are to blame for creating the mess in Iraq, we bear the responsibility for fixing it, which means we […]

SEP
08
2004
Uncle Sam’s Dirty Bombshell

For the past few years, we’ve been hearing a lot about so-called “dirty bombs,’ that is, regular explosives combined with radioactive material. The idea of the dirty bomb is so appealing to guerrillas and terrorists because it maximizes destructive payoff with little added complexity–all you have to do is cover the bomb with anything radioactive […]

AUG
13
2004
George and the Argonauts

I turned on CNN today and was greeted by footage of U.S. Marines raiding the home of Iraqi Shi'ite cleric and warlord Moqtada al-Sadr (either he wasn't home or he thought they were selling magazine subscriptions). Also, it seems that some of al-Sadr's men holed up in Shia's most holy mosque in Najaf, which has […]

JUN
25
2004
The Limits of U.S. Power

I've been wanting to post a really long essay about Iraq, but I'm just going to give you a little morsel of it for the sake of expediency and to keep this page fresh. Today's topic: the June 30th handover of Iraq. In assessing our war plans from the beginning, the White House often fails […]

JUN
02
2004
Defining Down Human Rights, or the Future of the Geneva Convention

I’ve been thinking a lot about the Abu Ghraib torture scandal, and its implications for the U.S. and the rest of the world. Here’s my short list of implications: Irreparable damage to our “hearts and minds” campaign Proves that if you tell the army they can do anything they want, they won’t disappoint you This […]

APR
19
2004
The Weekly World News Scoops Reality-Based Newspapers Again!

Last week's edition of the Weekly World News (you know, the one with "TWELVE MEMBERS OF CONGRESS ARE SPACE ALIENS! on the cover) contains a very interesting article entitled, "SADDAM WON IRAQ WAR … then CIA time travelers reversed his victory!" Yes, according to America's most widely read newspaper, <blockquote>Madman Saddam Hussein really did have […]

DEC
24
2003
Zinni, Flypaper, and Iraq is the New Afghanistan

There is an excellent article in the Washington Post today about retired General Anthony Zinni. Zinni is a centrist Republican, a Vietnam vet (Marines), and former head of CentCom. He is also very critical of the war on Iraq and for all the right reasons. Small excerpt: Zinni long has worried that there are worse […]

DEC
15
2003
Saddam Captured, Now What?

So, I was awakened to the news that the U. S. Army has captured Saddam Hussein alive. First thing I thought was, that’s great for Iraq. The second thing I thought was, big problem for the Americans. Two main points here: Now Hussein can no longer be blamed for the Iraqi resistance, which will doubtless […]

OCT
30
2003
Why Am I Suddenly Agreeing with the Republican Party?

Congressional negotiators have shot down (additional link) the Senate proposal to turn aid into loans attached to Iraq’s oil profits! The Democrats should be using this vote as leverage to demand a rollback of the tax cut package gift-wrapped for the upper income levels, but I have a feeling they’re too spineless to do it. […]

OCT
24
2003
Everybody Wants A Piece of the Action

Update to the previous post: Whisky Bar has a great post with all the numbers involved in the “loans for reconstruction” action–everybody wants a piece of the new colony of Iraq. More countries are heeding Bush’s call to attach Iraq’s oil revenues, turning it into the newest member of the club of “developing nations” who […]

OCT
20
2003
Right Idea, Wrong Way To Do It

I am completely in agreement with the Senate majority’s point that we cannot afford the latest bill from the occupation of Iraq. But talk about the worst possible way to make that point–the Senate is going to try to turn $20 billion of the reconstruction/occupation funds into loans. We are going to attach their oil […]

JUL
18
2003
Iraq: the Ideal Conservative Country

I was reading this Salon article about the chaos in Iraq and how the terrible planning of the neocons in the White House made this quagmire possible. Then my mind wandered back to that O’Reilly-Franken-Ivins forum (which you can download here in mp3 format). What, I hear you cry, could the connection possibly be? Here, […]

JUL
14
2003
The Worst Case Scenario: The Bush White House Is Telling The Truth About Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction.

Much is being made of the claims based on forged evidence cited in George Bush’s State of the Union speech. Although the documents supporting the story that Iraq tried to procure yellowcake uranium from Niger were known to be false before the invasion, the story is only now becoming a scandal. At issue are the […]

JUN
20
2003
Full Circle

Know the following: I am a political junkie, and I am also prone to reading jags. Sometimes, I fixate on a subject and exhaust many hours reading as much as I possibly can about it. When I was a kid, for example, I took out every book I could find about astronomy in the space […]



telegrams lost
 
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AUG
22
2012
Something That’s Been Bothering Me For a Few Years Now…

Christine O’Donnell went on TV with her usual claptrap about how Obama is a Marxist and Soledad O’Brien (who is on a huge streak of calling Republicans out in exasperation lately) rolled her eyes. In the clip, we don’t see the subject get pressed too much further, but this has been annoying me for a […]

SEP
30
2011
The Revenge of Icarus

In the summer of 2008, I wrote a short story that was intended to be a comment on what I thought was a coming depression, where overvalued assets would ruin the wealthy and force all those paper millionaires into destitution. I got some positive feedback from a literary agent, who thought I could turn it […]

JUL
18
2011
Are Marginal Academics Going Crazy?

The Wall Street Journal’s most popular article today was an editorial by one Professor Michael J. Boskin entitled, “Get Ready for a 70% Marginal Tax Rate,” and it was a doozy. It hearkened back to bygone days at university, when we carelessly tossed haphazardly written bullshit under the professor’s door a minute after the deadline, […]

MAY
12
2011
Protected: ZKY Teaser

There is no excerpt because this is a protected post.

MAY
06
2011
Meet The New Boss, Same As The Old Boss

I’ve decided to resurrect my dear old blog, now a rambunctious and neglected eight-year old–today! On May 6th in 2003, I decided to start a blog instead of sending my friends links to stuff via Instant Messenger. Back, then, I had to carry these posts uphill both ways; I built my own blog software and […]

SEP
22
2009
This Ought To Be A Healthy Debate

So the President unveiled his health plan(s) to what I thought was an incredible display of bravery on the Republicans’ part, and I’m jealous. I remember what it felt like to torture the substitute teacher from the back of class, yelling out “you lie!” and holding up signs and so forth. These people are really […]

AUG
20
2009
According To My Careful Prosthesis

Like you, I was very concerned about the well-being of crazy right-wingers this summer. Their favorite party out of office, a Democratic super-majority in the Senate, the stock market dragging its feet—how were we, as a nation, going to keep these people off the streets? By staging a gigantic nation-wide debate about healthcare, that’s how. […]

MAY
06
2009
Web 2.1

Usually I talk about politics here, with slight detours into science or arts or things like that, but on the sixth anniversary of Casual Asides, I’ve decided to turn to the foundational element of this blog: technology—specifically, the World Wide Web. Six years is a long time on the Internet, and even longer in the […]

MAY
04
2009
Why Doesn’t Somebody Pull Out A .45 And–Bang!–Settle It?

A modest proposal for extreme and Constitutional gun control: The right is losing a considerable amount of ground in the culture wars—every poll released in the last year shows America lurching to the left on traditional issues for conservatives from gay marriage to economic regulation to opening relations with Cuba. But there is one issue […]

APR
05
2009
The Democracy of Racism

Later this month in Geneva, the United Nations will be holding what it calls the Durban Review Conference (a.k.a. “Durban II”) to “evaluate progress towards the goals set by the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance in Durban, South Africa, in 2001.” Part of the agenda at Durban II will be […]

OCT
27
2008
How Can America Break Free Of The Two-Party System?

The economic turmoil of the past year hasn’t just thrown Wall Street into disarray—it’s causing ideological havoc in Washington. The two major parties are just as confused by the crisis as the rest of America, and party lines are becoming blurred just at the point where the Democrats seem poised to steamroll the Republicans on […]

OCT
08
2008
If You Plant Ice, You’re Gonna Harvest Wind

A few years ago, I bet a friend that the Dow Jones Industrial Average, an index of the leading American companies’ stock prices and one of the most celebrated economic indicators on Wall Street, would dip below 10,000 ‘points’ as a result of the oncoming credit crisis. Today I called him at work and said, […]

SEP
16
2008
Drill Up, Stupid

The component of the price of oil due to speculation was always kind of an unknown quantity. At the height of the oil bubble this summer, with prices at $150, someone suggested to Congress that up to a third of the price was actually due to market manipulation (a.k.a. “speculation”) by financial institutions, many of […]

JUN
21
2008
Top Ten Myths About Ecology

Since I spent most of my last appearance on Sirius’ Blog Bunker and all of the previous post talking about oil without too much emphasis on the greenhouse gas part of the equation, I think it behooves us all on the left side of the political spectrum to deal with the fallacies of global warming […]

JUN
20
2008
Driving Like Jehu

What drives oil prices? Everyone has a theory that suits their ideological niche—Democrats blame lack of regulation, Republicans blame too much regulation, and the rest of us wonder why prices aren’t higher than they are already. Earlier this month, Congress got an earful from a variety of oil experts on both sides of the ideological […]

JUN
01
2008
I Don’t Believe In Bullshit

In 1517, a young monk named Martin Luther, began a new era in Christianity by declaring his independence from what he saw as the excesses and iniquities of the Roman Catholic Church. Having kicked off the Reformation by nailing an itemized list of complaints to a church door, Luther challenged not only the orthodoxy of […]

MAY
06
2008
Knock On Wood

It’s Casual Asides’ 5th anniversary. Consider (with the new word count feature at the bottom of each post) that at this point, I’ve written about 260-odd posts and hundreds of thousands of words, enough to fill a decent sized book. That’s gotta be worth something, right? I pause here to consider that although I like […]

MAY
03
2008
Bulls in the China Shop

It’s hard to watch the news lately, because it’s just an interminable vivisection and slow broil of the Democratic candidates, thanks to Hillary’s stalwart refusal to do the math. C’mon, folks, it’s all on CNN’s delegate counter game, which has helpfully added a feature which lets you see exactly why Clinton needs a 66% margin […]

MAR
09
2008
Any Minute Now, Amos ‘n’ Andy Broadcasts Will Reach Planet X!

Dear readers, exciting things are happening. Here’s a quick review of the past few months. That Book I’m Always Talking About For the last two years, I’ve been writing a non-fiction book—it’s what I’m doing when I’m not posting here. When people ask me what the book is about, I usualy say something like, “it’s […]

DEC
05
2007
Casual Policy Suggestions

It’s time for me to tell you what’s good for you, besides the obvious—cod liver oil, plenty of sunshine, and switching to a ‘light’ cigarette. Start Snitching The greatest thing about the immigration debate today is that everyone involved in debating it in the media is totally full of shit. You have your Lou Dobbses, […]

NOV
06
2007
Why I Am A Pacifist

I missed the anti-war rally last weekend. I’d call it a peace rally, but nobody’s really for ‘peace’ anymore; the majority of the country still thinks the war in Afghanistan was justified, and they’re even receptive to bombing Iran. Even the majority of the country who is now against the Iraq war isn’t really against […]

OCT
13
2007
Fall Behind

Dear readers, you may be wondering what I’ve been up to, since lately dispatches are few and I never call anymore. Well, I’ve been working on a book. If you want a copy of the proposal, e-mail me and I’ll send it to you. For the purposes of this website, the proposal is to be […]

AUG
29
2007
The Rotting Corpse of King Croesus

Now that News Corp has all purchased the Wall Street Journal and late capitalism is experiencing yet another paroxysm—er, market correction—I think it behooves us all to consider the fate of the lowly Glass-Steagall Act of 1933. You see, way back in the 1920’s the market was booming—everybody was getting rich speculating in the market […]

AUG
20
2007
Everyone But Thee And Me

Welcome to another edition of actual casual asides, seasoned as usual with gotchas and I-told-you-sos. Ask Not For Whom The Bell Tolls… The United States and our allies have no rational interest in disclosing how many people we’ve killed in Iraq and Afghanistan if that number is inclusive of civilians. “We don’t do body counts,” […]

JUL
31
2007
The World Would Swing, If I Were King

The foreign policy spat between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton couldn’t have been scripted better for the mainstream media. It’s also the reason why watching politics in America drives me crazy. The great triangulation has begun. Lyndon Johnson had the Texas two-step, and the Clintons have the Sister Souljah moment. It’s one of their ways […]

JUL
17
2007
Is Virginia As Lost As Anbar?

Sometimes, it’s too easy. What kind of idiot protests that the surge is working? “AJStrata,” for one, who wrote this charming piece of tripe which I cannot help but “fisk.” So, let’s get into it: The signs abound that Iraq is stabilizing. The massacres of Muslims that al-Qaeda and the Mahdi Malitia [sic] inflict are […]

JUL
12
2007
A Rose By Any Other Name

Sometimes I wonder how many times I can restate essentially the same points about Iraq. I’ve been doing it for over four years now. I suppose I should derive some satisfaction from the fact that the majority of Americans are now against the war. Unfortunately, that’s like the majority of Americans being against the Big […]

JUL
05
2007
Oh, Pobrecito!

When will Americans learn that prison just isn’t fit for rich people? Apparently, it was these last few weeks. First there’s the Paris Hilton in-and-out again with the overcrowded California correctional system. When asked why Hilton was being released a second time before her setnece had been served, an official mumbled somehing about ‘health concerns’ […]

JUN
29
2007
Homework Over Summer Vacation

There’s been so much stuff going on in the past month, both in the world and my own life, that I feel like I fell behind in the news somewhere around the beginning of June. Hence, no posts; I’ve been working on some other things. But There are some things I’d like to address, briefly: […]

MAY
28
2007
They’ve Plucked, They’ve Sown, They’ve Hollowed Him In

The thrashing of Iraq continues. Today is Memorial Day, when America traditionally celebrates the deaths of its military men and women by going to the beach and wearing funereal shades of white and so forth. Speaking of symbolic dates, I propose a new slogan for the anti-war marchers for the summer season: “Out By September […]

MAY
18
2007
Change A Light Bulb, Save Darfur

I can’t quite put my finger on why I’ve singled Republican Presidential candidate Duncan Hunter out as my bête noire, but I have, so deal with it. Hunter isn’t as dangerous to civil rights as, say, Sam Brownback, or as connivingly amoral as Rudy Giuliani, but there’s something about him that just rubs me the […]

MAY
10
2007
If The Hoods Don’t Get You, The Monoxide Will

As I mentioned earlier, the Democrats don’t have enough backbone to do.. well, nothing, and let the Iraq war end in 180 days. So, they’re going to continue to fund the war in some fashion, likely by insisting on “benchmarks,” which is now the catchphrase du jour . As with everything else about the American […]

MAY
06
2007
Four More Years

Today is this blog’s fourth birthday, and as you can see, I’ve done a bit of a redesign. The old design was intentionally cluttered, because that’s how my desk looks. But I figured that, as I say at the bottom of all my e-mails, “non sunt multiplicanda entia praeter necessitam,” which means not to multiply […]

MAY
03
2007
Ask the Cop in The Woodpile

Yesterday as I was watching Fox News, I heard a small but sharp explosion and the clatter of plastic shrapnel. The batteries in my VCR remote, which I last remember replacing sometime in college, decided that they’d had enough. A cursory examination of the debris showed the batteries were supposed to expire in 2012, with […]

APR
26
2007
Cannon Fodder

C-SPAN is getting better and better with the Democrats putting the investigations front and center. I have to say it’s thrilling to watch Republicans squirm after years of this bullshit going the other way. Kucinich, bless him, is even going after Dick Cheney with articles of impeachment. I am a big fan of this approach, […]

APR
14
2007
Gender Divides

There are a few topics I try to avoid on this blog; Israel, monetary policy, cats. But I suppose the most glaring omissions are feminist concerns (closely followed by Darfur, a topic about which I have long struggled to write without much success). I’m not going to offer some lame excuse like “I just don’t […]

APR
11
2007
Barbarians at the Logic Gates

Let me state at the outset that I am a huge, huge fan of both Tim O’Reilly and Jimmy Wales. I own several O’Reilly books, and obviously I use wikipedia all the time. I respect them immensely, and we should all bow before their superior technological wisdom. Except in this case: A widely forwarded New […]

APR
10
2007
Ultimately, The Buck Stops Nowhere

Four years into the occupation in Iraq and it's still going on, despite the mounting frustrations of all involved. My writing on the subject has begun to resemble a post-mortem on a still-living body. I felt like I was beating a dead horse in 2005

APR
10
2007
Round and Round

Being philosophically-self aware is a very special kind of hell. The simpler your thinking, the more complicated your life becomes. While other people have no problems with the inherently self-contradictory, people like me get stuck on little details like how the entire world has obviously gone totally batshit. I had this problem with the war […]

APR
08
2007
Start The Selective Outrage Machine

I know I’ve ragged on Pope Benedict before for being a Nazi, but I do feel compelled to quote his Easter speech yesterday morning: How many wounds, how much suffering there is in the world! Natural calamities and human tragedies that cause innumerable victims and enormous material destruction are not lacking. … I am thinking […]

APR
05
2007
Kill Your Idols

Oh, Christopher Hitchens. I used to be your biggest fan. I hate Mother Theresa and Bill Clinton just like you. I even forgave your support of the war in the early days of the invasion, because I knew you sympathize with the plight of Kurdistan. But you don’t return my e-mails or call. And then […]

MAR
30
2007
An Unpublished Hermit's Letters, Vol. 4

I'm in the middle of this really long, drawn out criticism of Christopher Hitchens' "I wasn't right, but I wasn't wrong" piece on Slate from last week, but it's taking way too long to pen and you, dear readers, are probably wondering what the hell is going on. So, I substitute a letter I wrote […]

MAR
15
2007
When You Hit 18, Stick to Civilian Life

I'm back from the valley of the shadow of blog death with an old favorite

JAN
16
2007
The Way To Win At Gambling Is To Leave When You're Ahead

Right off the bat, I'm going to make an embarrassing admission–several, actually. Earlier, I quoted Clausewitz as saying block|Clausewitz also said, the best way to attack a powerful enemy is to attack the weakness in their greatest strength.|block Clausewitz did not say this. Al Ries and Jack Trout said it. "Who?" I hear you cry. […]

JAN
09
2007
Dashing The Troops Against Iraq With Surging Tides

So the President is planning a surge, is he? All the warning signs are there–Dad’s friends on the Iraq Study Group embarrassed him, and he knows he has to announce some kind of change, so why not go for broke and double down on America’s military future? So The SurgeTM gets floated in some neoconservative […]

DEC
08
2006
Don’t Let That Giant Wooden Horse Into The… Sigh.

I started this blog on May 6th, 2003. For the previous few months, basically since I left Montreal, I had been working on a book at a maddeningly slow pace. The title was to be, “The End of the American Century,” and the premise was that in a hundred years or so, history students would […]

NOV
20
2006
It Was the Best of Times, It Was the Worst of Times

So the Democrats have won back the Congress without a coherent plan to get us out of the war, and no wonder; Bush is still Commander-in-Chief and his lawyers have argued the President's position on Constitutional matters to the point that to call it a 'coup' would be stretching the truth only slightly. The Democrats, […]

OCT
25
2006
Forsake All Hope, Those Who Enter Into Iraq Debates

Less than a week from the mid-term elections and I’m starting to get worried that either a) the Democrats will lose, and b) the Democrats will win. Don’t Count Your Chicken-hawks Before They Hatch Smart people have a problem. They’re outnumbered by idiots. This is not necessarily meant as a jibe against either party, you […]

OCT
17
2006
Ten Questions About North Korea The White House Won't Have To Answer

When you watch a White House press conference (or that rarest of birds, a Presidential press conference), you'll notice that tough questions are increasingly being asked as journalists feel emboldened by Bush's low approval ratings. But there is still a line that many refuse to cross, a moratorium on real self-examination about our foregin policy.<br […]

SEP
09
2006
Offers We Should All Refuse

Now that I'm working for the good folks at a{http://www.mediachannel.org”>MediaChannel}a, and trying to write a book about technology (ever so slowly), I find that I haven't been blogging very much. One of the reasons I started this blog in the first place was to help me keep writing every day. In fact, I started out […]

SEP
04
2006
Being Objective About Objectives

Since my last post, the Middle East broke out into yet another war between right-wing militarists and Islamist militias, and President Bush went on a rhetorical offensive to shore up support for the war in Iraq (he hardly seems to mention Afghanistan anymore). Even though I haven’t posted on my blog for a while, I […]

JUN
11
2006
How Do You Define Civil Rights?

As the Senate geared up to vote on a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage last week, derisive howls were heard throughout the country when Senate Majority Leader Frist declared it a legislative priority. Though it’s clear that this ultimately doomed gesture was nothing but the purest pandering to cultural conservatives, there is a hidden truth […]

JUN
07
2006
Why Shoot The Messenger

Recently, David Asman of Fox News’ program “Forbes on Fox” asked the following question: “Bashing our military: seems like it’s a new sport for our media! But could all the negative headlines and lack of reporting about anything positive our brave men and women are doing there hurt America and our markets?” Naturally, Asman turns […]

MAY
19
2006
We Ought To Have That Growth Checked Out, It Might Be Cancerous

Turn on cable news at any given moment and chances are good you'll be hearing about either immigration or record gas prices. It occurred to me that although you'd never know it from watching corporate media, these two issues have much more in common than you think, and their causal link goes back hundreds of […]

MAY
08
2006
Healthy Skepticism

So, Saturday (May 6th) marked the third anniversary of Casual Asides. Faithful readers, I know you've been waiting breathlessly for the past month for me to update, and all I can tell you is that I've been working on a non-fiction book proposal instead of blogging. And don't worry, this week I'll break out that […]

MAR
31
2006
Weekend Sampler

<b>Abuse of Civil rights and Procedures</b> The lovely and always well-researched Ren has a really remarkable piece on the Nation website about the recent South Dakota Abortion Task Force, which was basically a front for a single State Rep's plan to challenge Roe v. Wade ASAP. The extended version of the piece is here, there's […]

MAR
19
2006
Iran’s Not So Far Away

With the third anniversary of the War in Iraq, our attentions have turned, naturally, to Iran. A while ago (before Iran’s nuclear program was making front-page news), I was talking to a friend about liberal interventionism, and of course, Iran came up. What did I ultimately propose to do, she asked, about the human rights […]

MAR
07
2006
In Media Res

I exhort you, faithful readers, to vote for my blog in the Best Writing category of the Koufax Awards. I have this fantasy of winning out over 126 contenders. As the Mets say, You Gotta Believe. Please, vote here (it says the voting hasn’t opened yet, but it has): Wampum’s Koufax Award for Best Writing […]

MAR
02
2006
While We’re Twiddling Our Thumbs

It’s a busy week; there hasn’t been much time for blogging lately. I was considering posting something about it that read, “light posting ahead, sorry folks.” Then I remembered I don’t post that often in the first place, so I won’t be making any apologies. Ha! There’s a quality/quantity tradeoff, especially when it comes to […]

FEB
23
2006
Hello, Seekers

Just wanted to thank everyone who’s been coming to this humble little blog lately. My traffic has doubled, due in no small part to my fellow Koufax nominees linking to my recent post about the whole British-to-Emirate ports deal. Then there are all the people looking up either David Sanborn or Muhammad Sharaf, sometimes in […]

FEB
21
2006
I'll Really Give You Something To Cry About

This weekend news came that the Bush Administration had approved the sale of Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation (a.k.a. "P & O"), the fourth-largest port operations firm in the world, to DP World, the seventh-largest. P & O is a British company, and DP World is owned by the United Arab Emirates. P & O […]

FEB
18
2006
The Evolution of Casual Asides

Since my internet connection went down earlier this week, I’ve been sitting and stewing about various things: No Blogging on Yom Kippur A few days ago, I was lamenting the fact that my traffic had been flagging lately. It’s not like I don’t know why; I don’t post every day, like most blogs do. These […]

FEB
09
2006
Top Ten Excuses for the Police State vs. Actual Police Work

If you didn’t think the White House was bereft of shame or even a sense of irony before, all you need to do is witness the latest salvo in its attempts to whitewash its failures. Today, in the midst of the investigations of Bush’s illegal NSA spying program (Bush supporters might prefer “extralegal” or “supralegal”) […]

JAN
28
2006
Follow the Money, Spread It Around

Recently, the Abramoff lobbying scandal has yielded a raft of proposals from both sides in an effort to combat the “Culture of Corruption” meme we’ve been hearing so much about. Before I (or anyone else) talk about these reform proposals, we need to understand what Abramoff is really charged with and how lobbying works in […]

JAN
20
2006
Hurricane Katrina Wipes Out the Whiteboard

I have a whiteboard, generously given as a birthday present by Elephant. For the last six-odd months, there has been a diagram on it which I had been working on for some time. As time passed and other stories became more pressing, I just left it up and began to cover it with other notes. […]

JAN
14
2006
Brief note about Abramoff

Posted this on the wikipedia site’s entry for the Abramoff scandal, figured you might like to hear it: “To say that this scandal is being ‘painted as Republican’ is dishonest and ignores facts about Abramoff which are certainly undisputable. He was chairman of the College Republican National Committee and worked for Reagan’s 1980 campaign. The […]

JAN
03
2006
December In Review (Several Days Late, As Expected)

Since I seem to be contenting myself with rehashing old themes lately, let’s go with the only one that people consistently seem to enjoy, i.e., actual casual asides. The Bush-NSA Spying Scandal Let us consider, for a moment, the depths of what has been revealed here. To begin with, I entered the words “warrant courts […]

DEC
24
2005
Letters, We Get Letters.

From: D. J. Waletzky To: Martin Nutt Subject: Re: Disappearing accents On Fri, 2005-12-23 at 18:31 -0500, M_a_r_t_i_n_n_u_t_t___X_@_X__a_o_l_._c_o_m wrote: In your page http://waletzky.com/dj/permalink.php?uid=104 (Sunday, 12 Sep 2004 ) you state The only country (to my knowledge, please correct me) that didn’t build its TV networks this way is the United States, where television was invented. […]

DEC
16
2005
The Tortured Logic of Torture Apologists

Dear Dr. Krauthammer, I came across your article in the Weekly Standard which argued for two hypothetical exceptions from a blanket ban on torturing prisoners by the U.S. government. I must tell you how strongly I disagree with your conclusions merely on practical grounds (to say nothing of the morality of torturing detainees, a complicated […]

DEC
08
2005
Fireside Chat With Senator Hilary Rodham Clinton

Dear Senator Clinton,Recently I read with interest your comments regarding the proposed partial criminalization of flag burning law in USA Today, namely,"I support federal legislation that would outlaw flag desecration," which I assume refers to HR 1974 IH, otherwise known as the Flag Protection Act of 2005. As your constituent, I have a few questions […]

NOV
18
2005
Open Source the Government

I've been working on proposals for the Democratic platform. House Democrats beat me to part of it a few days ago, so I figured I might as well share part of it with you today: environmental policy. Even if you don't have cancer or asthma or water damage or mercury poisoning, you probably know someone […]

OCT
10
2005
He Should Give It Again, Maybe Next Time In Blackface

Bush’s October 6th speech at the National Endowment for Democracy was so close to self-parody that for once, Bush’s smirks were actually humorous. It was like a Friar’s Club Speech, if the friars were experts on Middle East affairs. The theme of this speech is the comparison (more precisely, the equation) of Islamist terrorism to […]

OCT
04
2005
A Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy

Have you recently noticed, a whole bunch of GOP figures are being indicted, investigated or excoriated for various (alleged) wrongdoings? If you are the corporate media, the answer is yes, but if you're a conscientious, informed American citizen, the answer is no. Call it an amazing coincidence, but it seems that the recent rash of […]

SEP
26
2005
This Blog Is Fueled By Fossils Such As Fox News

When I saw that the President was going to hold a press conference on Fox News this morning, I got out my notepad and took some notes: Smirks Guffaws 9/26 Bush remarks re: energy supply Bush looks haggard, like he hasn’t slept or watched professional sports in days. The rumors that he’s started drinking again […]

SEP
19
2005
The Angry White Men

Note: I’ve been busy and uninspired lately. Actually, I’ve been trying to pitch articles to magazines instead of working like a dog to fact-check stuff for a blog that relatively few people read. The market has wreaked its horrible toll on this blog, I’m afraid. But don’t despair, I found this draft from a while […]

SEP
08
2005
Housecleaning, or Making the Best of a Bad Situation

I was working on a major piece about Katrina but have decided to pitch it to a magazine instead of publishing it here. Does this attempt at commodification make for a worse blog? Yes. So, this means there will be no sweeping socialist, environmentalist, civil libertarian broadsides this week; instead we have some odds and […]

AUG
29
2005
The Mother of All War Protests

As the pro-war contingent of American politics becomes increasingly desperate–oh, who am I kidding, it’s actually just standard operating procedure on both sides of the aisle–we have progressed to ad hominem attacks on prominent anti-war media figures. As with the Dixie Chicks, Michael Moore, Tim Robbins, and so forth, we now have hawks trying to […]

AUG
24
2005
Structuring Environmental Business Regulation

While talking to Elephant today, I repeated my assertion that what we need are better laws, not more of them. The simpler a law is, the harder it is to find loopholes in it; what we need are the right principles rather than approximately justifiable rules. Elephant said the only sort of "business restructuring" law […]

AUG
18
2005
Embargoes and the Limits of Government Market Controls

My friend Elephant sometimes says that he’s a pro-market liberal. But he often makes the excellent point that markets are always created by the state. It’s not just regulation which shapes and produces markets; there are the limits of enforcement as well as the means for chartering corporations. Now, I had been harboring some vestigial […]

AUG
15
2005
It's My Birthday, I Can Post If I Want To

So, I'm turning 25 as we speak, and I've decided to celebrate by being responsible and catching up on all this work I need to have done today. That is why this post is so short. I have been working on a post wherein I advocate withdrawing from NAFTA, the War on Drugs and Iraq […]

AUG
11
2005
The Ends-Means Problem in Chart Form

Often, people think that when I argue with them about the war on terror, or the war in Iraq, or the war in Afghanistan, that I am somehow traitorous or ‘morally indistinguishable’ from a fifth-columnist or Al-Qaeda terrorists. Especially when I note that many of their political complaints are founded (though as I’m sure you […]

AUG
03
2005
Poll w/Optional Computer Literacy Test

Question 1. Would people rather read policy and political critiques supported by careful research, <i>or</i> policy recommendations based on hypotheticals and moral philosophy? Question 2. Can you spot the bunny rabbit?<pre> /| __ / | ,-~ / Y // / | jj /( .^ >-"~"-v" / Y jo o | ( ~T~ j >._-' _./ […]

JUL
26
2005
Do As We Say, Not As We Do. Or Die.

Make no mistake, everyone who is involved in (American) politics, whether professionally or intellectually, wants to be the President (of the United States); even if only for a day. My problem is that I am, and always have been, totally unelectable–never won an election, probably never will. For one thing, Americans will vote for blacks […]

JUL
23
2005
Life, Liberty, and Total Horseshit

Brad, the newly repentant individual, has posted a reasoned, thoughtful account of his libertarian/natural rights philosophy here, and his argument sets out from an excellent starting point: block|…life, liberty, or property rights are quite easily discarded by an overbearing government. We can call them

JUL
18
2005
What Shall We Do With A Drunken Sailor?

Sometimes, when I talk about the foibles of our policies, people ask me, "well, what do you propose?" which is a good question. I prefer strategies which really look to the future, so here are some fun ways for us lefties to think two steps ahead: 1) Regardless of what Karl "The King of Plausible […]

JUL
17
2005
Let Me Tell You The Story of the Narrative Ontology

With the third anniversary of the War in Iraq, our attentions have turned, naturally, to Iran. A while ago (before Iran’s nuclear program was making front-page news), I was talking to a friend about liberal interventionism, and of course, Iran came up. What did I ultimately propose to do, she asked, about the human rights […]

JUL
14
2005
Justice and Freedom, or Vengeance and Imperialism?

While I was busying myself with other pursuits, Eric’s post about Iraq and Al-Qaeda seems to have prompted a really good discussion with Matt of Cerulean Blue and Mike of No Angst Zone (as always, I’ve arrived stylishly late to the party). In the thick of all this, Mike comes up with an essentially flawed […]

JUL
11
2005
An Omnibus Responsa, Ceteris Paribus

Two recent posts on blogs I read regularly have been bothering me: most disturbing is Time for the West to Close its Borders to Muslim Immigrants over at The Kvetcher, and the other one is DadaHead's post linking to Prof. Brian Leiter's "This is how we shall preach to the converted" manifesto. I'll take on […]

JUL
11
2005
Racial Profiling Redux

When Lincoln freed the slaves (in Confederate territory only, of course), some of the most voracious opposition came not from slave owners, but from poor whites. To be sure, there was an economic aspect–freed blacks would now be competing for jobs–but there was a more important and deeper social logic behind their opposition. If you […]

JUL
10
2005
Penguin Island

I’m in the middle of writing a very, very long post about Iraq, but in the meantime, I have discovered that my favorite book of all time, Penguin Island by Anatole France, is available entirely free as a plaintext file! Three cheers for the public domain! And although it was written in 1908, it’s an […]

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