Cernig gets it.
It's sure going to be interesting to see what the Dems do with it when they take the Presidency next year. "All we need now are five more Supreme Court justices, a hundred more representatives, and, by 2030, a Democratic majority in the legislature of the Moon Colony, and then we'll be able to overcome Republican obstructionism and bring the troops home, although obviously we would not do so precipitously and would need to leave some over-the-horizon presence to respond to contingencies in the region."
Saturday, December 01, 2007
Cernig gets it.
Objectively, Barack Obama is indistinguisable from his rivals in this race, and if anything, would be more prone to bellicosity and insane warmongering than a Serious Operator like HC, who's probably nuttier but a more formed and formidable character. But here is the thing. The reasons that the political establishment blandishes the "rumors" of Obama's Islamitude aren't simply because they're venal, lazy, and "it's out there." The reason that shit like that keeps cropping up is that no matter how white he talks, they don't want some nigger with a funny name as President.
Friday, November 30, 2007
Guys. Get a grip. Seriously. Half the Muslim world is named Mohammed. Dude was the one true prophet of God, or some shit. I'm pretty sure he can take the Teddy Bear. Half the dishwashers in Manhattan are named Jesus, but you don't hear any complaints, do you?
As I've mentioned in prior posts, I am a gigantic softy when it comes to healthcare, and willing to abandon all my doxologies and orthodoxies and most deeply held beliefs about the proper scope and power of the state so that cute little babies can get lollipops from avuncular doctors who make housecalls on the state dime. Or something. Anyhoo, John Edwards, meanwhile, has managed to make his plan for semi-hemi-demi-universal coverage sound like a Five-Year-Plan:
Under the Edwards plan, when Americans file their income taxes, they would be required to submit a letter from an insurance provider confirming coverage for themselves and their dependents.So, to sum up: it is a fine-based, wage-garnishing, penal model goverened by the most error-prone and inefficient of federal agencies. It imposes the obligation of additional monthly bills and quarterly-to-yearly paperwork on every American tax filer, rather than simply using gernal ledger monies to pay for the damned program. Its costs to individuals and families aren't remotely tied to usage, but only to income, which would be one thing if the plan were actually universal but is another entirely when it preserves a system of tiered coverage and benefits. It is, in other words, a program that's timid on benefits and draconian on garnitures, designed and destined to appeal to precisely no one.
If someone did not submit proof of coverage, the Internal Revenue Service would notify a newly established regional or state-based health-care agency (which Edwards has dubbed a Health Care Market).
Those regional agencies would then evaluate whether the uninsured individual was eligible for Medicare (which covers those over 65), Medicaid (which covers the indigent), or S-CHIP (the State Children's Health Insurance Program which targets the working poor).
If the individual was not eligible for either of those existing public programs, the regional-health care agency would enroll the individual into the lowest cost health-care plan available in that area. The lowest-cost option could be a new Medicare-like public option or a private insurance plan.
The newly covered individual would not only have access to health benefits but would also be responsible for making monthly payments with the help of a tax credit.
The exact size of the financial obligation would vary according to a person's income (lower-income Americans would receive larger tax credits).
If a person did not meet his or her monthly financial obligation for a set period of time (perhaps a year, perhaps longer) the Edwards plan would empower the federal government to garnish an individual's wages for purposes of collecting "back premiums with interest and collection costs."
The process, according to the Edwards campaign, would resemble the process used to collect money from Americans who are delinquent on federal student loans or child support payments.
There's always a "pox on both their houses" potential third party strain running through the American electorate, but I don't think I've seen one in my lifetime on the left that's so attached to a single issue as this one. Not that the article indicates any of those Iowa anti-war activists are thinking of voting third party or staying home, but it's that kind of frustration that lends itself to such things. (There isn't anyone running they could pour their disaffection into anyway.) I don't know exactly what will happen --- nothing, perhaps --- but I can't help but think this feeling of impotence might be a dangerous thing for Democratic candidates to ignore.Dear Digbylicious,
-Digs, carrying water
Here are some other things that are dangerous for a Democratic candidate to ignore:
Oddly enough, Mussolini did not actually make all the trains run on time. But:
“When he talks about New York, people see it,” Mr. Luntz said of Mr. Giuliani, “and they feel it, and if a number isn’t quite right, or is off by a small amount, nobody will care, because it rings true to them.”It goes without saying that this is true. It's a testament to our general innumeracy, isn't it? I remember when I first started managing major transactions for my organization. I felt--and to be honest, still feel--a slight-but-pleasant sense of incredulous wonder that the hundreds of line items in a financial settlement work out to the same number no matter what order you input them, how you classify the charges, how you divide up the revenues. I was almost amazed that when I ran a cash reconciliation on a multi-party settlement, it came up with the same numbers as the financial settlement documents, or, if it didn't, that there were actual, concrete, quantifiable errors. I remember being oddly surprised that seven-digit numbers calculate with the same accuracy as single digits. I say this as a kid who made it through calculus and some fairly substantial physics. Nothing like accounting to give a man an appreciation of numbers, though.
The point, in any case, is that a made-up number, whether or not off by a small amount, is made-up nevertheless. Does it express the truth to something? Maybe. But if the bottom-line shows a loss of a million-five and we mark it off as a million-two, the fact that both numbers agree on the general direction of things doesn't mean that we don't all get fired. Politics, though. Fuck fucking yeah.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
What makes a great leader is death followed by passionate advocacy.
There appears to be a segment of the population that believes, prior to the year 2000 or so, that the United States was a secular paradise. Quite the opposite, obviously. We have long been a nation of religious yaboos. It's part of the local color. No religious test indeed. It took just under 200 years to get a Catholic in the oval office, and for most of those two centuries, anti-Catholicism was practically the national pasttime. There's still never been a Jew. There have been a couple of atheists, like Reagan, but they've kept it under wraps. Anderson Cooper clutching a bible and pestering candidates to aver their particular level of allegience is hardly something new. How do we know you won't take your marching orders from the Vatican, Mr. Kennedy? You know what I'm sayin?
You all know that I'm not exactly surprised by the Arcadian fantasies of the activisti, but Brother J and Posse in heaven, I am sometimes surprised by the fervor they inspire.
. . . for people who were so blithely unconcerned with the President of the United States getting polished off in, you know, the White House, they're awfully concerned that Candidate-for-Life Benito Giuliani nailed some chick "on the taxpayer's dime." Dude fucking transformed New York City into a ersatz engine of Real-Estate speculation and candified psuedo-culture, and you're pissed that he was getting his bone on while he did? Jesus, who's the fucking nihilists here?
OMG. The Bush administration: totally p0wnd.
You know, the fact that the Republican candidates for President have effectively made illegal immigration the central issue of their ongoing campaigns is rather charmingly démodé. It's vicious, don't get me wrong, but tarted up with sarcastic nostalgia and nostalgiac irony, it transmogrifies into dark comedy. Their debates read like Coen brothers' scripts: shockingly inarticulate people hurling themselves against injustices that seem cosmic to them, comic to us. Their back stories are insane, and also Coenesque. The slick Mormon with a barely hidden streak of sadism. The egomaniacal, satyriac, thrice-married, ex-Catholic, mobbed-up lunatic Mayor of a New York made into a glistening parody of itself. The circus-freak fat-man who loved Jesus enough to lose the weight. The absolutely monomaniacal congresscreature obsessed to the point of paranoia with the fluoridation of the American bloodline through Mexican subterfuge. The senile, exhausted, former-prisoner-of-war, Vietnam vet Senator who seems, in every instance, on the verge of tears. Ron Paul, the lone man of principles, who seems continually bemused, and then astounded, by the capacity of his partners to stuningly miss the point, and who is genuinely confused, hurt, and angry when a madman like McCain hauls off and accuses him of loving Hitler. It is the single most preposterous collection of human beings ever to share a stage in the entire history of the human race, a catalogue of human failure, the ultimate proof of the folly of our species and all its works in this world. They are not the worst people the world has ever produced, nor individually the most ridiculous, but together they achieve a surpassing silliness.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
So Mitt Romney came out against having a Muslim cabinet member or some such, and suddenly the liberal blogs are back up in arms about his Mormonism, or some such. For the most part it's more in the spirit of jest and mean spirits, which are motivations I fully support, but at the same time, I feel that I should issue a corrective to those who deride Mormonism as uniquely cultish compared, say, to Christianity. I would like to know how some crazy New Englander claiming to find evidence of crackpot, New-World intervention by a supernatural deity on a bunch of transdimensional gold plates that no one else can see or read is any nuttier, crazier, whackier, or less believable than believing that some other/the same supernatural deity, in order to remediate the sinfulness of his own creation--a feat previously remedied unsuccessfully through, you know, destroying the entire world and nearly all of its living creatures in a global innundation--impregnated a woman who, though partnered with a man, remained a virgin, and upon the birth and maturation of this glorious issuance of the divine loins, murdered him in a sort of filicide/regicide/suicide/deicide that did not, in fact, redeem man of his sinful nature, but merely provided a cosmic loophole through which he could be forgiven for his inherent sinfulness by doing/thinking/feeling something or other. Nor let us forget that the insanely incorrect portrayal of Native American societies in the Book of Mormon is no more insane or incorrect than the portrait of Near and Middle Eastern societies in the Old Testament. I have no interest in casting Mormonism in a positive light; only to point out that when Hillary Clinton tells you how prayer is central to her life, there are two equally horrible, competing possibilities. The first is that she's lying. The second is that she's telling the truth.
In short, traditional activism was predicated on influencing the gatekeepers -- getting concessions from management in a labor dispute, or getting editors, producers, or pundits to alter their coverage of an issue or event, or pressuring the government to change course in its actions (like ending the war in Vietnam), and so on. There was never any expectation that the gatekeepers were going anywhere. The best we could do was force a change in their behavior.Oh-ho. It must be something to live in an asylum where all the inmates think they're Napoleon. You do have to give credit where due, though. Even when they lose, they win. Joseph Heller, eatcherheartout.
Today, we are able to target the gatekeepers directly, working to change their behavior, yes (like with Time and Joe Klein), but also working to eliminate them or, when that's not possible, bypass them. We are building an alternate media, alternate party infrastructure, and alternate institutions of power and influence. As I wrote seemingly a lifetime ago in Crashing the Gate, the gatekeepers were welcome to work with us, get out of our way, or get crushed and rendered irrelevant.
Alternate. Alternative. Like alternate fuels. Alternative power sources. These are the stock phrases of pocket revolutionaries who oddly--or not--enough are the staunchest defenders of the status quo. You can imagine this future quite easily enough. Everyone will still drive cars, but they will be fuel cell cars. Everyone will be able to live in a very nice house in whatever city or town or suburb he pleases, but there will be no predatory mortgage industry, no adjustible rates, no foreclosure. We will only practice "fair trade," but prices will never increase. We will destroy WalMart with no pocketbook repurcussions. Nothing, in fact, will have any repurcussions but the positive kind. There will be no displacement, no discomfort, no conflict, no tradeoffs, no concessions, no sacrifices, no alterations in the way we live. We will do precisely as we've always done, only better, cleaner, quieter. How's that myth of progress for you?
Anyway, the hilarious thing about Kos is that he believes himself to be something like a left-leaning libertarian but he sounds like Soviet Apparatchik. Join the Revolution; Leave the Country; Or Be Crushed! Fortunately, the Orange Army ain't the Red Army. What it has in bluster, it lacks in firepower. What it has in fantasy, it lacks in practical imagination. Yes, it's true that the playground is next to the ballfield, but it's also true that the sandbox isn't the batter's box no matter how many twigs the toddlers swing around.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
It's easy to be cynical, but Annapolis does matter.So Levy says before explaining in pretty convincing detail why Annapolis does not, in fact, matter. Although it could be a "rebirth of hope," which has all the practical usefulness of an insemination of glee or an evacuation of consternation or some other [bodily function] of [abstract noun].
-Daniel Levy (via Yglesias)
I'll not just make fun though. Levy sensibly notes that the requisites Israel demands of Palestine prior to ending occupation are precisely the things that occupation itself renders impracticable and impossible. Telling Palestinians that they must guarantee "security" to Israel (and we can pause to note that Israel commits far graver breaches of Palestinian "security" than any Palestinian group is even capable) while the occupation continues is really quite ridiculous, and Americans in general might better appreciate that point if they were actually paying attention to our own attempts to occupy Iraq.
Meanwhile, what you have are two parties whose preconditions to negotiating with each other preclude good-faith negotiations. Israel doesn't recognize the majority party in Palestine; the majority party in Palestine is so deeply committed to the rhetoric of Israeli illegitemacy that it would effectively abnegate its bargaining ability even if it were to decide that direct negotiation were the least costly path with the greatest likelihood of beneficial outcomes, and the actual Palestinian representation at this conference is a minority government with its own legitimacy issues. Add to this the insistence of either party that its counterpart effectuate the end result of an ideal negotiated settlement as a prerequisite for negotiating in the first place.
What you have, then, are two parties set to enter negotiations with a prior committment not to make a concessionary agreement. That's a bargain-speak term of art for: Fawk yooze and the horses yooze rode in on. It suggests a mind-set in which the parties to the negotiation see a final bargaining agreement as a set of competing gives and gains, each ranked and ordered and all weighed against each other, with the idea that from this Kabala one can determine with precise, mathematical accuracy whether one has won or lost. This, by the way, is the default view of most people and organizations, and if you ever sit through a labor negotiation, you will see it in action, both sides huddled paranoiacally around their set of imperatives, willing to concede this or that only if the other side makes an immediate and commensurate compensation for this "loss."
The few really successful negotations operate on a wholly different set of principles. True, they also seek to mediate the imperatives or necessities of interested parties, but instead of seeking to maximize party-specific gains while minimizing party-specific concessions, they seek an encompassing and holistic framework for the continuation and growth of a cooperative enterprise. In other words, their final settlements are not long, complex, attempted-encyclopedic codes of every possible interaction, itemized and subdivided, self-referencing, convoluted, and based on an underlying assumption that in order to prevent advantage-taking, every instance of conflict must be predicted, codified, and dealt with in advance. The endless flowering of contract language is a result of its emphasis on preemption and its assumption of ultimate bad faith even as suppsedly "good faith" negotiations led to it. Again, the ideal is not a set of ordinances laid out in advance to deal with every conceivable outcome, every underhanded attempt by management to screw the shop out of overtime and every slimy attempt by the business agent to pyramid the work calls. The ideal is constituional in design, a document that, though it does spell out specific responsibilities, is more concerned with establishing reasonable purviews among parties for its own implementation and rational mechanisms for mediating disputes when they arise. That is no more a perfect solution than any other--after all, look at what happened to our Constitution. Nevertheless, it sure beats a 100-page agreement with fifty five-page appendices, three side-letter agreements, and 500,000 words of minutes from the negotiations.
The Israeli-Palestinain situation is compounded in its awfulness by the extreme disproportion of wealth and power. Isreal is the guiltier party insofar as it possesses the wherewithal to make the first good-faith gestures whereas the Palestinians objectively do not. They lack the physical capacity to make absolute security guarantees. They are poor, ineffectual, and divided among themselves. Israel, as an occupying power, has actively sought that condition, by the way. That's what occupying powers do if they want to remain occupying powers. But we should not kid ourselves about the nobility of the long-suffering Palestinian people, either, even as we take their side. It's romantic and paternalistic, and it overlooks the fact that "peoples" aren't people and aren't endowed with aspects of personality and virtue. That means: Don't imagine that just because they have been abused and occupied, the Palestinians are now incapable of subterfage, bad faith, bad acting, and irrational self-interest. That's another lesson from labor-management land. The harder you beat down on the union, the nastier, sneakier, and more dishonest they will become in the next round of talks, and with good reason.
In any case, if Israel will not begin the process by dismantling settlements and easing travel restrictions--in effect, easing the occupation dramatically enough to allow the emergence of a Palestinian entity that isn't crippled and ineffectual before it comes to the table, then hope, such as it is, will be more like stillborn.
I've been observing discussions here and elsewhere about the immigration debate with increasing anxiety that the Republicans are going to get away with yet another misdirection perfectly designed to derail progressive hopes and dreams by stroking America's lizard brain. The election feels eerily reminiscent of 1992, when so-called reasonable centrists stoked the crazy man Ross Perot's campaign by backing his obsessive concern for "the deficit" which was nothing more than a weird abstraction into which misinformed discontented voters could pour their economic fears.I come not to praise H. Ross Perot, but to bury him. Actually, I agree that he was more or less nuts, although in a uniformly entertaining and wholly healthy way. Yanking 20% of the vote out of the pot in a Presidential election year was a neat trick, probably the only real scare that our famed bipartisan system--as in, "I believe in the bipartisan system"--has had in many years, and it just went to show what a Quixote can do with a billion dollars in the bank. No one entirely sane by our ordinary lights would ever a.) make a billion bucks or b.) run for president in the first place, so complaining that Perot was nuts seems narrow and uncharitable.
"The deficit" was real, of course--I mean, it represented fiscal reality, that the federal government's operating expenditures exceeded its revenues. Now it is popular to say that "deficits don't matter," insofar as a.) government revenues and expenditures are largely fictions anyway and b.) because the children are our future. What wiser wags will tell you is that deficits don't necessarily reflect intrinsic failures of an organization's fiscal policy from year to year, and that it is sometimes perfectly reasonable to operate for a year--or two, or more--at a loss. Non-profits, businesses, and governments of all levels do it for plenty of legitimate reasons, usually to maintain current levels of programming and production and subsidy and whathaveyou through leaner revenue years. But running in the red is hedged against some projected future revenue that will make up for the loss and the service on any debt incurred in the process, or is supposed to be in any case. The question of the federal deficit is a question of persistent deficits and a relentlessly compounding debt. There's a certain tragic irony here, since the deficit requires borrowing which causes debt which charges interest which contributes to operating costs which causes the deficit which requires borrowing . . . These aren't high-church economicisms. Every family has faced these principles.
Digby complains that the surplusses of the Clinton bubble years should have been used to "finance new initiatives for the public," and "finance" is the unintentionally, hilariously felicitous word. Surplusses should have been spent on reducing debt, not on building future costs. In any case, "initiatives for the public" or giveaways to the rich are staggeringly irrelevant compared to the cost of war, and in fact the debt service that we pay every year is largely a camouflage for what is in fact war spending: debts incurred for prior imperial ventures and added onto by the going one. As noted elsewhere and otherwise, the only real way to reduce the national debt and to limit the costs and scope of government is to stop fighting wars. You will curiously enough not find that much discussed, neither by Club for Growth types nor by Reasonoids, the latter of which persists in lazy agnosticism when it comes to war and peace. For the former, well, I always laugh when I hear Norquist types talk about drowning the government in the bathtub when they are unwilling to tamper with the half-trillion-dollar army hanging out in the bathroom with its shrunken boss.
Races are fuzzy sets, with indeterminacies, like my kids, around the edges.You should hear what he says about his wife.
So Musharraf is going to "give up" his uniform and be sworn in as a "civilian president." Well. Islamabad vaut bien une messe, eh? Interestingly enough, Henry IV who ruled "weapon in hand and ass in saddle" was killed, in the end, by a religious fanatic. Inshallah.
Monday, November 26, 2007
Fuck yeah. I've always felt that my Inquisitorial nature was underappreciated by you bozos anyway. Recant, recant!
We do note that IQ is not a theory nor yet a testable hypothesis, but we'll leave that one to the alchemists. Our critic meanwhile notes that there are physical differences between black people and white people, such as, for instance, the color of their skin. Anyway, this is funny.
Just because I put my spear of destiny in his unhealing wound, that doesn't make us gay. We're just buddies helpin each other out
If you aren't reading Gates of Vienna at least several times a week, you really are missing out. Its authors, fellows of some vaguely Norse provenance as far as I can tell, wander about in a sort of Parsifalian head trip, forever seeking to reclaim the lost, ahem, spear of Western cultural virility, as it were. This is plainly the target audience for a film like Beowulf, although their principle enemy, something called "PC Multiculturalism," has munched on a few fewer Danes or Geats or whatever than old Grendel. GoV's offerings combine all the best elements of race-paranoia, sexual inadequacy (fertility and birth rates are favorite themes), and English-as-a-second-language prose. For instance:
Thinking about this news report [that a Dutch warship will participate in anti-piracy activities around the Horn of Africa], it seems to me that Denmark is evolving into part of the Anglosphere. It must be all that Danish DNA that was inserted into the English gene pool before there ever was an England. So Australia is overtaken by the greenies for the moment, but Denmark is leaving the port to take care of the pirates, just as the U.S. did in her very beginnings.Perhaps you're thinking that's awfully bad geography. You're missing the point, gentlemen. The grail isn't a thing, man, it's, like, a state of mind.
The shores of Tripoli beckon once more and good strong men answer the call.
I shall do it slowly and loudly, for the peasants in the cheap seats.
There is no Joe Klein. There is no New York Times. There is no Washington Post. There is no ABC. There is no NBC. There is no CNN. Quoheleth:
If you're really honest with yourself, Joe, you'll realize that you are part of the problem. It's not only your lousy reporting. It's not only your weak advice. It's your lack of concern. You act as though the Bush administration is just business as usual. We civil libertarians are desperately trying to make sure that the Bush administration does not become 'usual'...that it is branded as criminal...and that no future administration can use this one as a precedent to justify similar criminality and executive power. Why are you fighting us?The "we civil libertarians" bit is cute, the "it's your lack of concern" is a little sad, and the "why are you fighting us" is as uncannily idiotic as any sentence among all the terrabytes of florid concern from the many mouths of Donkledom. Hey, fellas, maybe he's fighting you because he's on the other side.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Greenwald's schtick is increasingly terrifying. His neverending epiphany, which arrives each day and without fail, like the rising of the sun--is that, holy shit, the media propogandizes on behalf of the government. (The government, Glenn, not the GOP.) Finding a gloss on some new police-state tactic in Time magazine, of all places, should not shock a man. It's like being surprised at a well-reviewed military parade in Pravda. I mean, not to suggest that the state is only a network of power structures, needless to say, best understood holistically and organically, not as a machine but as an organism, simultaneously divided against itself and unified in the common purpose of survival and growth, capable of mediating internal tensions and disagreements to that point, able to acquire new skills and competencies, adaptive and intelligent, sometimes rational and sometimes reactionary, instinctively but not universally territorial, with some physical centers of great importance and others of vestigial uselessness, a totality of abstract powers ideated and actualized by the collective action of human beings, themselves only the material functionaries of a self-perpetuating, self-referencing, self-defining, self-circumscribing, suprahuman entity. How do you like them fucking apples, Gleen Greenwald? To look at the state of human affairs right now and conclude that the real problem is that people like Joe Klein are willing to swallow a government line, when obviously the very purpose of the entire economic sector for which the Joe Kleins of the world toil is precisely to mold, variate, amplify, and disseminate a very particular kind of information, is to find yourself not only missing the forest for the trees, but the trees for one moldy leaf rotting in a puddle on the lee side of a dank Appalachian hill.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Naomi Wolf:
But this distressing situation isn't just George W. Bush's fault. Young Americans have also inherited some strains of thought from the left that have undermined their awareness of and respect for democracy. When New Left activists of the 1960s started the antiwar and free speech student movements, they didn't get their intellectual framework from Montesquieu or Thomas Paine: They looked to Marx, Lenin and Mao. It became fashionable to employ Marxist ways of thinking about social change: not "reform" but "dialectic"; not "citizen engagement" but "ideological correctness"; not working for change but "fighting the man."I admit that blaming Derrida-reading college students for the depredations of Iran-contra is novel, though uninspiring.
During the Vietnam War, the left further weakened itself by abandoning the notion of patriotism. Young antiwar leaders burned the flag instead of invoking the ideals of the republic it represents. By turning their backs on the idea of patriotism -- and even on the brave men who were fighting the unpopular war -- the left abandoned the field to the right to "brand" patriotism as it own, often in a way that means uncritical support for anything the executive branch decides to do.
In the Reagan era, when the Iran-contra scandal showed a disregard for the rule of law, college students were preoccupied with the fashionable theories of post-structuralism and deconstructionism, critical language and psychoanalytic theories developed by French philosophers Jacques Lacan and Jacques Derrida that were often applied to the political world, with disastrous consequences. These theories were often presented to students as an argument that the state -- even in the United States -- is only a network of power structures. This also helped confine to the attic of unfashionable ideas the notion that the state could be a platform for freedom; so much for the fusty old Rights of Man.
Anyway, here is my question. If your nation is currently involved in killing a million Vietnamese, isn't it appropriate to dial down the level of one's love of country. I mean, "unpopular war"? Does that mean that the other wars wouldn't sit with it in the lunchroom? That the Spanish-American put gum in its hair and World War I broke the lock on its locker? Hey Wolf, the "state" is only a network of power structures. That ain't Lacan, it's Max fucking Weber. Christ, and she wants to talk about people who don't read.
Newspapers, for their faults, certainly remain better sources of information than television or radio, if only for the sheer volume of information that even a comic book like USA Today contains on a daily basis. The charge that the big dailies are biased are of course overblown. They just lack narrative coherence due to the number of damned stories. So, on one hand, Iraq is shit, a nation that is clearly, irredeemably fucked beyond all fucking, a tinderbox of ongoing divisions and sublimated rivalries that at any moment will explode again in an orgy of bloodletting, a nation whose current "calm," or whatever, is not calm by any standards of any decent human society, but is only relatively less deadly than it was a few months ago, the sort of Hitler-Stalin reckoning-of-who's-worse that makes the rest of us grab for the rainy-day poetry and hope never to hear about war and politics again. But, on the other hand, "As Democrats See Security Gains in Iraq, Tone Shifts."
I, for one, am enjoying the sights and sounds of Democrats tacking back toward open support for the occupation of Iraq, if only because it will soon set off another great round of Netrootsian rationalizing, and you will begin to hear all the schoolteachers and retired dentists and Just Folks who make up Donkle Netrootsia reclaiming the false language of political analysis, using words like "electable" without apparent irony, and convincing themselves loudly and ceaselessly that some Democrat, any Democrat, will be an improvement, though how that will be the case will remain unclear. 2008, after all, is shaping up as 2004 redux, although Hillary will surely be a tougher general electioneer than John Kerry ever was. Poor anti-war Democrats--whatever will they do? DailyKos says Kucinich is a nut job, and David Niewert says that Ron Paul believes in slavery and the race-destiny of the Aryans among us. Oh no! Oh my!