Saturday, March 02, 2002

I'M PROUD TO STATE THAT I'M THE number nine search result for "crown prince saudi pedophilia".

Friday, March 01, 2002

AFTER READING TED BARLOW's excellent rebuttal of Sullivan's shameless labeling of Tom Daschle as anti-war, one might just dispense with misogyny and call Sullivan a liar.
INTERESTING POSSIBILITY IS PUT forward on Letter from Gotham about a potential convert to radical Islam who also happens to be a cousing of John "Taliban" Walker. I wonder if it's true....
I DO INTEND TO ANSWER THOSE e-mails that I got today regarding Andrew Sullivan's alleged misogyny, but I've got my parents visiting me this weekend, so it's a little hard to think straight. Tomorrow, hopefully.
GLENN KINEN HAS SOME WISE remarks on Andrew Sullivan vs. Paul Krugman, including the role played by jealousy
Sullivan, if you haven't noticed, is real strong at social and cultural commentary. But he's pathetically weak on economics. I've never seen anything past a set of platitudes from Sullivan when he's discussing something fundamentally economic, and I can't remember a single instance of rigorous, numerical analysis.
I tend to agree with this, especially when one considers that though Sullivan's cultural thought points right at times of war such as we have right now, it tends to point left during peace, so his much-vaunted conservatism comes largely from his (basically dogmatic) views on economic policy.

But without his status as a gay conservative, Sullivan, hard-working and clever though he is, is basically just another somewhat misogynistic gay male writer.

I've noted recently from his discussions of Robert Kaplan that Sullivan doesn't have a particularly firm grasp on foreign policy either. He's not nearly as bad of course as a Anglo-leftist, or Euro-weenie, but he vacillates wildly between giving realist and idealist rationales for his beliefs and violently condemns anyone who disagrees with his foreign policy of the day.

Thursday, February 28, 2002

I LIKE THE WEST WING even if Aaron Sorkin doesn't know when to shut up, but even a fan can appreciate a good parody like this one on More than Zero.
GOOD SENSE FROM A SURPRISING PLACE: Richard Just, writing in the usually squishy American Prospect rightly notes that the much-vaunted Saudi peace plan is, as the French would say, simplistic. As the nut graf says
Israel's pre-1967 borders are militarily indefensible. It is possible not to care about this particular fact (Israel's detractors in the Arab world seem not to) but it is not possible to deny it. No country that has been invaded three times in 50 years should -- or will -- accept indefensible borders. At the same time, most Israelis understand that their country must -- for reasons moral as well as practical -- allow the creation of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza. Most Israelis know that, broadly speaking, this means an approximate return to pre-1967 borders.

Wednesday, February 27, 2002

ON THE THEORY THAT MY MOST recent InstaPundit mention may have garnered me some new readers, I'll state that when I'm not blogging or philosophizing I'm Editor in Chief of The Harvard Independent, a student newsweekly. Our latest issue has just been posted to the web, and people should either check it out.
A FEW DAYS AGO I POSTED on why Mickey Kaus is usually called a liberal or neo-liberal when his site seems to bash the left all the time. Just check out the Amazon page for his book The End of Equality and I think you'll find out.

According to one review, it's

A look at the gap between rich and poor in America outlines a plan that includes mandatory national service for youth, public financing of elections, guaranteed jobs and day care for welfare recipients, and more.
A non-admiring reader asks
Want even more extreme policies from the radically egalitarian vermin than we've seen evolve within the US over the past century? Follow the ideas of this turkey and you'll get them! You can have freedom or you can have this kind of enforced utopian egalitiarianism--you can't have both. I'll choose freedom any time.
I'm gonna go buy the book.
SO THE SAUDI PEACE PLAN first noted by Tom Friedman in the op-ed page seems to have arrived on page one where one would have thought it belonged in the first place.

The plan calls, essentially, for Israel to surrender on all of the outstanding issues where such a surrender would not eo ipso mean the destruction of the Jewish state in exchange for a promise of real, total, lasting peace not just in Palestine but throughout the Arab world.

It's not a terrible proposal, but it seems to cling to the Arab myth that Israel just seized the West Bank for no reason and so really ought to just give it back. In fact, of course, the Palestinians never had the West Bank, Jordan did, and Jordan used it is a platform from which to invade Israel unprovoked.

Should the Palestinians live under occupation forever to atone for the Arab world's sins? Of course not. But, on the other hand you'll see why Israel may feel entitled to some of the land (the now Jewish-occupied bits) that it "conquered" in a defensive war.

Tuesday, February 26, 2002

THE GREATEST NATION ON EARTH! Old School (i.e., pre-war) blog Communications from Elsewhere (home of the genius postmodernism generator) reports
According to the 2001 Durex Global Survey, Americans are having the most sex per year—124 times, on average—of the 28 countries surveyed. The Japanese are having the least, at 36. Greece is catching up, though, with 117. Come on, folks. Show a little national spirit. If we aren't having more sex than the Greeks, then the terrorists have already won.
NICK KRISTOFF'S CASE FOR appeasement/dialogue is completely absurd. Kristof himself gets this quote from an "unofficial North Korean spokesman"
"North Korea cannot kill the heavyweight champion, the U.S.," Mr. Kim says. "But it can maim one of his limbs, and so the heavyweight champion will not want to fight. That is the North Korean logic."
Adopting the Kristoff strategy and showing the North Koreans that they're right and we won't fight as long as we might get a limb maimed will just encourage North Korean brinkmanship.

I certainly hope we can avoid war with North Korea too, but given what this says about their state of mind, the only way to accomplish that will be to make it clear that we're willing and ready to fight.

ALL OF JEFF JARVIS'S Sunday posts are excellent. I'm glad to be in his wing of blogdom.
MATT WELCH, HORRIFYINGLY ENOUGH mentions me but doesn't have a link! The horror, the horror. On the other hand, I'm glad to see that I'm one third of a wing.
I THOUGHT I'D WEIGH IN a bit on the sporadically-conducted blogosphere debate on academic bias. As a current college student, it strikes me as undeniable that there is a very pronounced left-wing tilt to our faculty.

Moreover, as one would expect, the tilt is at its minimum in the science departments and one might even consider the economics department to be right-leaning. Virtually all of our professors have liberal views on social issues like abortion and gay rights, but I would suspect that they share that in common with well-educated people outside of academia.

The really striking political bias is the left-wing economic thought coming out of the humanities and non-economics social sciences. Virtually no one teaching here is actually a Marxist, but it's taken for granted that his ideas should be studied and taken very seriously in much the same way that one still reads a Hobbes or Plato even though no one would propose adopting the precise political solutions that they advocated.

Condemnations of the war in Afghanistan have, of course, been forthcoming from many professors, and a very large proportion of the faculty was highly supportive of last year's sit-in aimed at securing a "living wage" for Harvard employees.

Students who are politically active here also tend toward the left, and the fairly far left at that, but I would say that the overwhelming majority of students are thoroughly apolitical.

The most important result of faculty bias, it seems to me, is not on students' political or the course of the real world, but rather that it produces shoddy historical, literary, sociological and other research. If anything, the cause of the actual Democratic Party -- hence the hope of getting more leftist policies implemented -- is actually impaired by these academic leftists who tend to undermine the credibility of the center-left both through ceaseless hostility and by presenting an easy target for people who like to take the most absurd manifestations of left-wing extremism and use them to taint all liberals.

Monday, February 25, 2002

ERSTWHILE LIBERTARIANS WHO THINK the Republicans come closest to supporting their views should check out this article (and just pay attention in general) to how the Democrats are the party fighting to extend unemployment benefits without also passing a massive, wasteful, twenty-ton pork barrel of a "stimulus package."
STEPHANIE'S ANTI-BLOG RANT on the site formerly known as AintNoBadDude is excellent. I think all of us bloggers could do well to reconsider our priorities.
YOU WOULDN'T THINK THAT there were any good reasons to rename Blogger "Mumia," but Tim Blair's come up with a few.

Sunday, February 24, 2002

GREG HLATKY IS RIGHTLY UPSET at the tough spot California's going to be in as gasoline prices skyrocket in response to their decision to ban the MTBE additive from gasoline.

Hlatky blames Governor Davis, but the real culprit is Dubya's EPA which has been denying waivers from the requirement to use MTBE or ethanol in gasoline left and right even though there's no actual reason to require them except as a giveaway to big agribusiness concerns.

OVER AT PROTEIN WISDOM they're arguing that "conservatism is in fact the new progressivism."

I think that this is more of an illusion than anything else. It's true that the anti-war far left has been much more prominent than any anti-war elements on the far right, but the mainstream of American progressivism broke with those elements long ago.

It was Bill Clinton, after all, who waged the Kosovo War over the loud objections of Tom DeLay, and American conservatives haven't abandoned their quest to theocrafy America with restrictions on abortion and gay rights, they've just been (temporarily) drowned out by other things.

The New Republic is still a liberal magazine and still, I think, the best statement of progressivism to be found anywhere, the Weekly Standard's admirable hawkishness aside.

We believe that Mr. Pickering bears no animus toward blacks and that charges of racism have no place in this debate. But based on the serious questions raised about his record as a judge
I couldn't agree more. Whatever your opinion on the Pickering nomination, and whatever your ideology, I think that anyone interested in honesty in the political process should support Chuck Schumer's effort to legitimize open and honest discussion of judicial ideology, as a way to minimize the hunt for bogus skeletons in the closet.
IN A DESPERATE PLOY for increased web traffic (thanks InstaPundit) I'm going to mention Britney Spears or, more precisely, this Times of India editorial on the subject of Ms. Spears.
PAT ROBERTSON IS MAKING a surprising amount of sense on CNN's Late Edition right now. I wish he would take his point about how Muslims who don't take the Koran too literally are preferable to those who do and apply it to Christianity.
THE OTHER OBSERVER (the New York Observer, that is) reports that Governor George Pataki is cozying up to hugely popular President George W. Bush.

This doesn't sound like a good idea to me at all. Dubya's popularity couldn't save Brett Schundler from being too conservative for New Jersey -- the whole reason Pataki's been so successful is that he's distanced himself from the national Republican party.

BLOGGER AREN'T SUPPOSED TO LIKE the Observer, but their Gary Condit interview contains this priceless quip from Ed Hollingshed, Condit supporter and conspiracy theorist
'Trust me, she is out there somewhere, holed up with some kind of pimp,' he says conspiratorially. 'And some day that guy is going to hit on Gary Condit for a whole lot of money.'
I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT this story from the Arab News means, but it sounds funny
An official source at the Sacrificial Meat Utilization Project has disclosed that some 15 bogus companies have been found to be selling fake coupons for animal sacrifice to the pilgrims.
Of course, I'm sure it's really a very serious thing if you're a religious believer, so the government will no doubt execute everyone involved.
I'D SAY THAT GLENN KINEN'S latest post just about perfectly sums up what I think about international affairs (he calls it being a "Kennedy Democrat"), excpet that he says something about focusing on "the glory of landing a man on Mars."

I fucking hate the space program. Always have. Always will. Oh well.