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“Remember When,” is the Lowest Form of Conversation…

[ 1 ] September 21, 2010 |

Since the NYT is revisiting Joe Wilson’s June 2003 op-ed on his trip to Africa in search of uranium deals, I feel compelled to crank up on the Wayback Machine and repost this about Wilson’s June 2004 visit to my American Foreign Policy class at the University of Washington.


United GOP Filibusters DADT Repeal

[ 43 ] September 21, 2010 |

I the latest grotesque performance from the World’s Worst Deliberative Body provides an excellent illustration of why Matt was wrong to think that Democrats should be unhappy that Mike Castle lost the Delaware primary.    The fact is, under current norms the nominal moderation of Collins and Snowe is a complete fraud, and those conditions are likely to become more entrenched.    And nor are there ever going to be enough “moderate” Republicans to influence the direction of the Republican leadership for the foreseeable future.   So if Snowe loses are primary, great — most likely you’d get a Democrat, and at worst you’d get someone who on key issues…votes like Olympia Snowe.

Let’s also not forget the two Democrats who voted with the Republican filibuster, Pryor and Lincoln.   Lincoln’s vote, in particular, is a real embarrassment — she has no chance of winning and the DADT won’t make much difference anyway.   Is this really how she wants to be remembered?   Apparently so.

And finally, I would once again like to note that this is exactly the kind of “minority” that the filibuster protects.   Minorities who don’t believe lynching should be punished, minorities who don’t think African Americans should vote, minorities who don’t think gays and lesbians should be able to serve their country openly — if you think these kinds of minorities are underrepresented and democracy in enhanced by giving them an extra voice, then by all means support the filibuster.    For the rest of us, it should be obvious that it should be done away with at the first opportunity.

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You Don’t?

[ 23 ] September 21, 2010 |

I agree with the point of his post — including his disagreement with the idea that it’s Obama’s fault if he can’t get fake-moderate Republican Senators he has no discernible leverage over to vote against the filibuster — but I think John is being too charitable here:

McCain, being all mavericky, has flip-flopped so many times I have no damned clue which way he will vote.

There’s a better chance that the Mariners and Pirates will meet in the World Series this year than McCain voting against a filibuster of DADT.   Apart from a brief period in which he was very mad at George W. Bush for denying him the presidential nomination to which he was entitled, he’s been an absolutely standard-issue Republican hack, and this issue certainly won’t be an exception.

The Post-Kaus Era At Slate Marches On

[ 7 ] September 21, 2010 |

The New, Improved Will Saletan notes that the American public officials who support criminaizing abortion are unprincipled, offering justifications that are completely incohrent. I could quibble that this set of positions does not merely reveal an underlying “we don’t really believe that the fetus is a human life” but an even stronger “we don’t believe that women are rational moral agents” position, but if a pundit is moving beyond a “contrarian” position on abortion, I’ll take what I can get!

OK, He Staunchly Supports Bigotry, But He’s So Mavericky About It

[ 2 ] September 21, 2010 |

Shorter John McCain, justifying leading the filibuster against the repeal of DADT: “It’s outrageous to use a defense appropriations bill to deal with matters pertaining to the American military.”

I don’t mean to shortchange his multi-leveled hackery:  I also enjoy his arguments about how outrageous it is to “force” legislators to take positions through the highly undemocratic procedure called “voting.”

I should say, however, that some journalists have gazed deeply into John McCain’s soul and informed us that despite his relentlessly reactionary record on such issues, in his heart he totally supports gay and lesbian rights. I’m sure this will be very reassuring to the gays and lesbians who will face discriminatory discharges or who will be denied the opportunity to serve their country.

Good One!

[ 10 ] September 21, 2010 |

That Atrios, what a card:

Newsweek actually hired Mickey Kaus.

Haha, nice one, Newsweek sure is moribund, but come on, shouldn’t joke contain at least a grain of plausi

Hello! I’ve been blogging at “” for a while–first on my own, then for, and now, starting with this post, for Newsweek. A few introductory notes that may or may not be useful:


–kausfiles on Newsweek won’t be quite the same as kausfiles on Slate. My early New Year’s resolution is to be a lot more interactive (e.g. responding to comments), a bit less insidery, and a lot more Instapundit-y–emulating the wildly popular Tennessee blogger who posts lots of short links to worthy articles by others. Please let me know how I’m doing.

I continue to mourn the death of satire.

Bitter Pill

[ 70 ] September 20, 2010 |

I’d hate to see that bastard Pollard go free, but it’s hard to justify keeping him if there’s even a chance that the release could save lives:

“Officials in Jerusalem are examining an initiative in which the construction freeze in Judea and Samaria will be extended in exchange for the release of the Israeli spy, Jonathan Pollard, from prison in the U.S. The proponents of the initiative assess that this would enable many of the right wing ministers to swallow the bitter pill, as they put it, of extending the freeze.

A political source said that this possibility also arose in a discussion held by the Prime Minister’s Bureau, but said that it was one of many ideas. A private source, who has ties with Palestinian and American officials, says that a few days ago an associate of the prime minister asked him to check secretly and unofficially with administration officials whether such an initiative was feasible. The source conveyed the request, but it is not known how, if at all, the Americans responded to the idea. In addition, various sources say that in public opinion polls held recently by the Prime Minister’s Bureau, the respondents were asked whether they would support an extension to the freeze in exchange for Pollard’s release.

Most likely, of course, Pollard would go free in exchange for a brief “freeze” that included no serious limitation on actual settlement expansion, in the service of peace talks that probably aren’t going anywhere anyway.

It’s about time

[ 21 ] September 20, 2010 |

Congratulations to the University of Mississippi for severing its lingering association with Colonel Reb, the mascot who so plainly demeaned the Lost Cause nostalgics and ignorant peckerwoods who constitute the heart and soul of the Magnolia State. We can only imagine the silent humiliation that Mississippi’s long-suffering whites endured over the past few decades as their rich culture and history was caricatured as nothing more than the old, dopey remnant of a traitorous and defeated master class, distorted for undignified game-day thrills and for the transient lucre of cheap merchandise. We can only hope that the university’s new mascot more accurately conveys the sophistication and forward-looking sensibilities of Mississippi’s current generation of white bigots. And so perhaps one day soon, the Ole Miss Haley Barbours will celebrate the school’s first SEC football championship since 1963, breaking the hex that Freedom Summer laid upon the state the following year.

Some More Peretz History

[ 12 ] September 20, 2010 |

One reason that Stephen Glass was able to get away with it for so long was that his fabricated stories generally flattered the preconceptions of a perceived audience.    Some of these were appeals to liberal audiences — marauding Young Republican fratboys, the “Church of George Herbert Walker Christ,” etc.     The story that finally got him busted — which is remarkably implausible in several respects on its face — presumably took advantage of preconceptions about Scary Teenage Hackers.       And then there’s this, which tells us something about what Glass thought his editors would like:

Proceeding from there, the article goes on to contrast the flagging work ethic of African-Americans, with hard-working immigrant taxi-drivers–many of them Muslim. The article ends with a flurry of spectacular reportage, in which the journalist witnesses the robbery of one of his cab-driving subjects by a black man, and then tracks down a folk-hero of the local cab-driving community–Kae Bang “a Korean cabdriver-turned-vigilante who is to the D.C. cab community what Stagger Lee was to the Mississippi Delta.” Bang, an expert martial artist, attracted his flock after he beat down “three brick wielding black teenagers” who’d assaulted him.*

The story was a whirlwind of spectacular “gets” which could only have been executed by a crack reporter on his best day, or an outright liar willing to invoke every odious stereotype from Steppin Fetchit to Bruce Lee to Willie Horton. Martin Peretz put “Taxis and the Meaning Of Work” on the cover of The New Republic, a first for the article’s author, Stephen Glass. Glass’s name comes up whenever the latest instance of gumshoe malfeasance arises. What should not be forgotten is that one of the greatest fraud sprees in modern journalistic history, was aided and abetted by The New Republic‘s belief in shiftless, dangerous blacks and the immigrant avenger Kae Bang.

Washington Post editor Len Downie, Washington Post Company CEO Donald Graham stung by Shalit’s piece, once suggested “Looking for a qualified black since 1914” as a motto for The New Republic. I don’t know the magazine’s employment record in regards to people who are not white, but I do know that the magazine field–political and otherwise–is probably the whitest field in all of journalism. And not simply American white–but privileged, coastal, Ivy League white. (I include my present employer in that assessment.)Peretz is oft-saluted for bringing different perspectives under the same roof. In all my time of reading The New Republic, it’s been clear that very few of those perspectives originate in communities of color.

And when you add the platform he gave to Charles Murray…

Faith maintenance

[ 37 ] September 20, 2010 |

It turns out Dan Riehl is as adept at reading words as situations:

I should apologize and confess to having previously torn off a quick, mostly hyperbolic and silly rant in response to this by Michael Gerson. I read through it, but right over my name, as well. So, I didn’t think Mr. Gerson was genuinely interested in what bloggers might actually think until now. h/t Newsbusters.


Until someone else pointed out that he’d quoted me, I didn’t think he was interested in what people like me have to say.

That’s a remarkable confession when you think about it, and says quite a bit about the current state of conservative blogs: everyone assumes they know what everyone else is thinking, so they stop reading what they actually write but continue to attack each other anyway. As far as I can gather—it’s rather confusing—it seems like the purity test of the week is not whether conservatives will be pragmatic and advocate voting for Christine O’Donnell, but whether they will hold their tongue or speak their piece about her obvious flaws as a candidate while doing so. Were I a fiscal conservative, I’d be bothered by the disconnect between her life and her professed ideals to the point of questioning whether the latter were nothing more than lip service; but as I am, for the most part, just chuffed that the Republicans of Delaware selected an unelectable candidate, I don’t feel the need to weigh in.

Not even on the Donalde’s latest self-deflating argument, because I’m increasingly convinced that he’s engaged in some sort of performance art. No actual human, much less a teacher, could consider this an invitation to debate, or respond to its inevitable (and quite reasonable) rejection by issuing the following complaint:

There’s a word for this: Anti-intellectualism. And that stance marinates in a devilish sauce of hard left-wing hubris and deceit. It’s further soaked in hatred, for to hate one’s enemies is to categorize them as beyond the pale of reason and civilization.

The worst thing about this cooking show? The Donalde spent all night writing the script. So my choices are “sad, sad little man” or “brilliant performance artist,” and because I want to maintain my faith in humanity, I’m going with the latter.

The Politics of Resentment

[ 7 ] September 20, 2010 |

(What is often inaccurately perceived as) pissing off liberals — it continues to be the glue that holds the Republican coalition together:

The ballot also included a vice presidential question, which Pence also won, with Palin coming in second.

“What a dream ticket,” said FRC president Tony Perkins. “Mike Pence and Sarah Palin! That would give liberals heartburn.”

Hey, Palin may be a historically unprecedented drag on a ticket, but liberals will be really mad! That’s what matters!

I note at this point that if you haven’t read Nixonland, you should.

People who make 400K A Year: Very Affluent

[ 49 ] September 20, 2010 |

Prof. Brad Deling has an excellent post on a particular type of rich person rage, i.e. “$400,000 a year isn’t really that much money, so any increase in marginal tax rates is outrageous.” In this case the argument seems to be that if you don’t have an unlimited budget for luxury trinkets and vacations after buying an extremely expensive house in a good neighborhood in a terrific city and sending your kids to extremely expensive schools, you’re not really rich. I trust that this is self-refuting.

A central problem with the idea that 300 or 400 grand a year doesn’t go as far if you live in a desirable urban location is that living in a desirable location is something you’re getting with your money. If it’s really important to you to have money left over for ivory backscratchers, you can move to the periphery of the urban area; being very affluent doesn’t mean not having to make any tradeoffs. This goes double for Manhattan, where a status cost above and beyond actual amenities is built into the price of real estate. I mean, if you’re paying a huge premium to live on the Upper West Side instead of Brooklyn or Queens, it sure ain’t for the restaurants.

…Fallows has more.

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