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Today in the West Bank…

[ 0 ] January 29, 2009 |

Israeli settlements expanded. This make today like just about every other day since July 1967.

Zero

[ 0 ] January 29, 2009 |

Another shocker; hopefully this will be a long overdue hint for Obama, the Senate and the conference committee to ignore the House Republicans altogether. On whether this lack of “bipartisanship” should be considered a problem, see my co-blogger.

Dept. of People Who Really Should Never Call Other People Dumb

[ 0 ] January 29, 2009 |

Shorter Jules Crittenden: Jessica Alba was really dumb for calling Sweden neutral. Even though Sweden is neutral. But in my judgment, Sweden shouldn’t have been neutral, which means that Alba was really stupid to say that they were. See? This is the kind of analysis which makes me much smarter than Jessica Alba.

Dick of the Day

[ 0 ] January 29, 2009 |

Dick Armey.

Diplomacy Isn’t So Hard…

[ 0 ] January 28, 2009 |

It appears that the Bush administration’s effort to diplomatically “lock in” a missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic has failed:

Russia has dropped plans to install missiles near Poland after the Obama administration signalled a change in US attitude to the region, a Moscow military official has reportedly said. The official suggested that Mr Obama’s White House had made clear it would not prioritise executing the Bush administration’s plan to install a missile defence shield in Poland and the Czech Republic.

An unnamed official in the Russian military’s general staff said: “The implementation of these plans has been halted in connection with the fact that the new US administration is not rushing through plans to deploy” elements of its missile defence shield in eastern Europe, according to the Interfax news agency.

Congratulations to Obama and Medvedev; Russia will save money, the United States will save money, and Poland won’t have Russian missiles parked on its border. It’s a win for everyone who’s not a missile defense zealot.

Cross-posted to TAPPED.

Who Knew?

[ 0 ] January 28, 2009 |

Apparently, Caitlan Flanagan’s anecdotes and urban legends turn out to be not terribly reliable. I, for one, am shocked. I also agree with Jessica that the panic about teen sex really over a panic over girls (or young women, really) having sex.

Meritocracy

[ 0 ] January 28, 2009 |

America’s worst op-ed columnist was only unemployed for about eight hours yesterday, as Bill Kristol was hired by the Washington Post Writers Group immediately after the NYT announced he wouldn’t be wasting its precious newsprint any more.

It’s no wonder newspapers aren’t going to exist ten years from now.

You betcha, etc.

[ 0 ] January 28, 2009 |

This is great news for me:

SarahPAC . . . was registered Monday night with the Federal Election Commission. The Web site went live Tuesday, said Pam Pryor, who worked as a liaison between the McCain-Palin presidential campaign and the Republican National Committee. Now, Pryor is serving as a volunteer spokeswoman for the new PAC.

The goal of the committee, according to its Web site, is to “make it possible for Gov. Palin to continue to be a strong voice for energy independence and reform. … SarahPAC will support local and national candidates who share Gov. Palin’s ideas and goals for our country.”

I can think of few other sights as grand as a litter of Sarah Palins, snouts to the soil like truffling hogs, trying to discern the “ideas and goals” that might win the approval of their would-be patron. I suppose Joe the Plumber will probably make the cut. Mabe they can hang out and read von Mises together.

John Updike

[ 0 ] January 28, 2009 |

R.I.P. Wolcott has more.

Fighting The Last War

[ 0 ] January 27, 2009 |

I think Steve M.’s analysis of the problems with defenses of Paterson’s senate appointment are very astute. One line of argument goes that Gillibrand was a strong choice for 2010 because a more progressive candidate would have their support too localized in New York to win, so we could end up with an Al D’Amato/Pataki situation. The main problem with such arguments , as Steve points out, is that 1)Westchester, Long Island, and other NYC bedroom areas are much more liberal than they were 15 years ago, and 2)upstate has shrunk relative to the population in the NYC metro area. Basically, the old Republican competitiveness formula no longer works. Any vaguely credible Democratic candidate, including one significantly more progressive than Gillibrand, would be a massive, massive favorite in 2010 even before we get to the question of who exactly the D’Amato/Pataki figure for the GOP is supposed to be. I suppose there may be good reasons to have picked Gillibrand, but the idea that the Dems needed her to win in 2010 certainly isn’t one of them.

Gee, ya think?

[ 0 ] January 27, 2009 |

Michael Rubin asks, with an evidently straight face:

I won’t get into the substance of Obama’s comments—others are doing that across the web—but I am curious whether the choice of al-Arabiya signals the administration’s abandonment of the U.S.-funded al-Hurra satellite channel. Al-Arabiya is the second-most popular channel in the Arabic-speaking Middle East (after al-Jazeera), so audience reach was not the only factor Obama’s handlers considered when determining on which Arabic satellite station he should appear.

Setting aside the fact that people only watch it when their cats accidentally step on their remote controls, al-Hurra is — like the administration that sponsored it — a sump of incompetence that can’t even maintain a consistently pro-American line of propaganda. Nevertheless, I can’t imagine why the incoming administration wouldn’t jump at the opportunity to validate five years of failed media strategy by appearing on a network that symbolizes its predecessor’s total incapacity to take people in the Middle East seriously.

Marc Lynch has more…

Blog Launch-Progressive Realist

[ 0 ] January 27, 2009 |

Check out Progressive Realist, a new blog bringing together a number of progressive foreign policy writers (including yours truly). Here’s the About; the project has been brought together by Robert Wright (of Bloggingheads et al). I’m proud to be a contributor; check it out.