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It’s Over

[ 28 ] February 2, 2008 |

Not that this is news, but the McCain is a mortal lock. Evidently, I got this completely wrong. What I missed was that the logic I used to defend Romney (he would have little chance running against a serious plain vanilla Southern conservative but wasn’t facing one) was also true for McCain. And, of course, McCain got lucky, in that Huckabee has some actual political skills (which, most crucially, deprived Romney of Iowa) while Giuliani was a historical fiasco beyond the point which even people who correctly understood that he never had much of a chance could have anticipated. Even Fred Thompson got out of his La-Z-Boy long enough to hand McCain South Carolina. In a field in which nobody should logically have been able to win the victor needed things to break right, and the breaks went to McCain.

This isn’t a good outcome for Democrats, but he’s certainly beatable. I still think that he would be a lot more vulnerable against a candidate who actually opposed the Iraq fiasco that McCain has supported so vociferously, but it seems likely that a majority of Democratic primary voters won’t agree with me. (Of course, given my track record this year the fact that I think Clinton remains a prohibitive favorite has to scare her campaign considerably…)

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"You, Sir, Have The Boorish Manners Of A Yalie."

[ 10 ] February 2, 2008 |

Speaking of bean’s alma mater, some Yale students engage in a silent protest against advocate of torture and arbitrary executive power and Bush administration idea of a good federal judge (but I repeat myself) Jay Bybee. Good.

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They Ask Questions…

[ 9 ] February 2, 2008 |

Captain Ed:

Has Ann Coulter Finally Jumped the Shark?

Um. Heh. Uh… I guess I just don’t understand the question.

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Speed Reading

[ 27 ] February 2, 2008 |

This is from a while back, but for folks who might be interested in learning how to read a book in about an hour, this fellow claims to have mastered the technique. It basically involves working a lot with the index, reading the intro and conclusion, and calling it a day. The main caveat seems to be that this works well only for scholarly books, particularly the social sciences. It also won’t work — or so we’re told — with books that aren’t very good.

Also, the author offers this tantalizing bit of information in the comments:

good lord if ya’ll are digusted by this, wait ‘til I tell you how I teach the students to grade their own papers. I can’t even remember the last time I read a student’s paper.

I. Am. All. Ears.

(Via Jonathan Sterne)

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Guaranteed to Bring Some Warmth to Even the Hardest of Hearts and the Direst of Patriots Fans

[ 18 ] February 1, 2008 |

I think that 2 sports-related posts in a single day is a record for me.

Anyway, via commenter Humboldt Blue, an article about the injured Iraq War vet who has inspired the Giants this season and who has become virtually a part of their coaching staff. I double dog dare you to read it and not at least have a tiny tinge of Giants support surge through you.

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H & L Revisited

[ 0 ] February 1, 2008 |

In the interests of balance, this is pretty appalling. I wasn’t at all bothered by Obama’s invocations of Reagan; I’m sure that virtually every politician elected since 1986 has said something nice about the Gip at some point. But using what amounts to a facsimile of the 1994 anti-health care ad is pretty twitchy. Are we going to see this next?

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Getting Ready for the big Game

[ 9 ] February 1, 2008 |

explanation here.

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One Endorsement She Shouldn’t Accept

[ 12 ] February 1, 2008 |

Apparently, Ann Coulter thinks Hillary Clinton is more conservative than John McCain, and will endorse and campaign for Clinton if McCain is the GOP nominee. I kid you not. Evidence below:

Now, if I were one of Hillary’s advisors, I would say NO to that endorsement and offer of “help.”

In other endorsement news, MoveOn today endorsed Barack Obama. Of course, the GOP is already trying to use the endorsement against him.

Nice study in contrasts, eh?

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Today In Spurious Media Bias Accusations

[ 0 ] February 1, 2008 |

The thing is, it’s not hard to find plenty of examples of anti-Clinton bias on the part of the EMM – ESS – EMM. However, the Times not trumpeting Clinton’s “victory” in the Pajamas Media Straw Poll Florida non-primary really isn’t the example you want to go with, unless you’re outraged that the Times didn’t put the Tigers’s stirring 2007 Grapefruit League victory above the fold of the sports page. Jarvis also claims that the DNC’s decision was “unconstitutional.” While I agree that the draconian actions against Florida and Michigan were excessive, I must admit that I’m unaware of the constitutional provision that requires parties to seat delegates for their conventions irrespective of whether or not states follow their procedures. (Maybe it’s the same super-secret provision the Court relied on in Bush v. Gore.) And to once again point out the obvious, going along with the farcical spin of the Clinton campaign and pretending that a non-election was an election does not retroactively enfranchise Florida voters.

I would make fun of the Treason In Defense of Slavery Yankee’s arguments Roy also flags except that I don’t even understand them.

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A Momentary Lapse of Hegemonic Decline

[ 7 ] February 1, 2008 |

The Parag Khanna excerpt continues to produce some interesting discussion. Yglesias:

In 1945-46 the U.S. economy completely dominated the world, contributing some absurdly high share of total output. Every other significant country on earth had been completely destroyed by war, and we had a monopoly on nuclear weapons. Over time, this dominant position unraveled.

To which Drezner replies:

Yglesias is completely correct that the U.S. had nowhere to go but down after 1945 — a year in which we had the nuclear monopoly and were responsible for 50% of global economic output. Nevertheless, the U.S. resurgence in the nineties was not an illusion. The simple fact is that all of the potential peer competitors to the United States — Germany, Japan and the USSR — either stagnated or broke apart. At the same time, U.S. GDP and productivity growth surged. The revival of U.S. relative power was not a mirage.

This is a good point, and one that’s probably not mentioned enough. The story of how the neoconservative position on American hegemony developed in the 1970s and 1980s should be familiar by now, but the impact of the relative economic growth during the 1990s has probably been under-studied. In 1990 it wasn’t uncommon to see arguments that Japan and a Germany-driven Europe would be the premier world economic actors by, well, now. By 1995 this position was no longer tenable; setting the collapse of the USSR aside for a moment, the Japanese and German economies both stagnated while relatively fast US growth resumed. This was a situation which hegemonic-stability theorists in the 1970s didn’t foresee, and it probably goes some distance towards explaining how theories of American exceptionalism and consequently of the necessity of strong American hegemony became popular in the mid-1990s.

To put it another way, the ideas behind Kristol and Kagan’s 1996 Foreign Affairs article Towards a Neo-Reaganite Foreign Policy have a long history, but relative American economic strength in 1996 made them plausible and attractive to a larger audience.

Cross-posted to TAPPED.

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[ 0 ] February 1, 2008 |

Friday Cat Blogging… Nelson and Starbuck

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Bar-None Most Misleading Headline of the Week

[ 0 ] February 1, 2008 |

This one from the NY Times:

Tainted Drugs Tied to Maker of Abortion Pill

Based on that headline, you’d think all the company does is make abortion pills, and that it was those abortion pills (AKA RU-486) that were tainted.

But no. Here’s the article lede:

A huge state-owned Chinese pharmaceutical company that exports to dozens of countries, including the United States, is at the center of a nationwide drug scandal after nearly 200 Chinese cancer patients were paralyzed or otherwise harmed last summer by contaminated leukemia drugs.

Yes, it’s true that the company is the sole supplier of RU-486 to the U.S., but that drug is made in a totally different factory than the tainted leukemia drug. And I’d of course support stricter quality standards in all of that company’s plants. But this article is actually not at all about mifepristone/RU-486.

Is the Times really that desperate for circulation that it’s willing to use the specter of abortion scare tactic to drive online readership up? Sheesh.

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