about General George Casey over the past year, despite recent claims by administration officials that the President “grew concerned” about Casey.
Before the release of the ISG report, Spencer Ackerman predicted its real impact would be turning withdrawal into a “respectable” point of view. I don’t think it’s quite happened yet, but we do see more and more folks throwing in the towel. Andrew Sullivan stands for nothing if not the elite consensus, and he’s had enough:
The moral cost of withdrawal is huge. We should do all we can to provide amnesty for any Iraqis who have been loyal to us. (It does not surprise me that we shamefully haven’t. This is the Bush administration.) But the moral cost of plowing on is also exponential. It may merely delay the day of reckoning. It risks sending young Americans to die in order for a president to save face, not in order to win. The truth is: we have lost this battle, if not the war.
Escalation, at this point, is just throwing good money after bad. The good news, for hawks, is that it’s not their money that they’re throwing, not their lives that they’re ruining.
Today, prominent climate skeptics Pat Michaels and Dan Gainor appeared on Fox News’ Your World with Neil Cavuto to argue that the recent snowstorms in Denver prove there is a “Northeast bias” on global warming. Both agreed with Cavuto’s claim that if “more of those who support global warming did not live in the East Coast, or more specifically in New York, and were stationed in Denver,” they might be more skeptical of global warming.
Michaels added that “if you believe that warming causes cooling, you’re like my neighbors down in Virginia who think that if you put hot water in the ice cube tray, it freezes faster. It doesn’t work that way.” Watch it:
The severe blizzards in Colorado weren’t necessarily caused by global warming. But they also don’t prove that climate change isn’t happening. As the concentration of carbon dioxide increases, the frequency of extreme weather events — including snowstorms — also increases. Additionally, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 2001 report notes that “global average water vapour concentration and precipitation are projected to increase during the 21st century.”
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according to John M. Shalikashvili, former Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman: “Our military has been stretched thin by our deployments in the Middle East, and we must welcome the service of any American who is willing and able to do the job.”
“After more than 200 years of paying taxes, fighting in wars and abiding by sometimes arbitrary acts of Congress, Washington, D.C., residents are close to getting their first full-fledged representative in the House of Representatives.” The 110th Congress is expected to take up legislation to “increase the voting membership of the House from 435 to 437, giving new vote each to Utah” and D.C. “The 600,000 citizens of the district are still the only residents of a national capital in any democracy in the world without full voting rights.”
Fred Barnes and Charles Krauthammer, strong contenders for the title of America’s Worst Journalist, go head-to-head on Special Report with Brit Hume and Krauthammer emerges as the voice of (relative) reason:
FRED BARNES: And I don’t think, and we see it in the media, in particular, that the Sunnis should be treated as some abused minority. They have accepted no guilt, no responsibility for Saddam’s crimes . . . They have mounted the insurgency, and those who weren’t a part of it allowed it. They provided the ocean that allowed these insurgents to swim in. . . .
I’m not worried about harmony. What I’m worried about is crushing the Sunni insurgency, because nothing good can happen until then. There’s no offer that can be made that somebody can accept. First you have to have security. You can’t have this level of violence there caused mostly by the Sunni insurgency. They’re the ones who are carrying out all the suicide bombings, and they can get mad about it because they think it wasn’t a dignified execution, I say so what.
KRAUTHAMMER: But the way to defeat it is to win over the clan leaders in the Sunni leaders. . . . And they will not come over to a government which is acting on behalf of Shiites.
The trouble that Krauthammer can’t see, is that we’re beyond the point where we can act in a meaningful way to bring about national reconciliation in Iraq. Only Iraqi political leaders can do that. At this point, our real role in the country is to be manipulated by various actors there.
based on a two-year-old proposal by then-Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). At the time, then-Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) refused to even respond to Pelosi’s proposal. TPMmuckraker has the new letter here.
There’s a bit of discussion about in conservative- and libertarian-leaning segments of the blogosphere on whether administrative decentralization (i.e., “states rights”) means anything other than Jim Crow. I suppose there probably is. Approaching things from a different angle, however, Ezra Klein notes that under the American system of government “for all its federalism, there’s precious little variation. The most generous cities display only a couple degrees of difference from the least. Santa Fe may have a living wage, but it doesn’t have single-payer health care, or paid maternal leave, or massive job retraining. We hear talk about the genius of the states, but they all tend to work on basically the same problem, in basically the same way, leaving little room for brilliance to burst forth.”
That seems about right to me. States seem to differ primarily in how they deal with some fairly trivial regulatory matters. Each state’s rules governing alcoholic beverages differ somewhat from its neighbors, cigarette taxes and where (if ever) you’re permitted to smoke indoors vary, but you don’t see a ton of policy variation. No state, no matter how right-wing, has just voted to dismantle its public school system nor have we seen a state attempt single-payer health care. I wonder if this is parasitic on the fact that there’s shockingly little institutional variation among American states.
US federalism is somewhat unusual in that the states have essentially total autonomy in terms of how they want to arrange the institutions of state government. The federal constitution only contains a vague requirement of a “Republican form of government” which seems to offer a lot of leeway. Nevertheless, 49 out of 50 states choose bicameralism. Zero states out of fifty opt for parliamentary-style governance where the state executive must maintain the confidence of the legislature. All fifty states, including tiny Rhode Island, implement a an interstitial country (or “parish”) level of government between the state and towns and cities. All the states elect their legislators on the basis of single-member constituencies. You’d think that some state, at least, would try something different along some of these dimensions and see how it works out.
Former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw, who delivered a eulogy at President Gerald Ford’s funeral today, appeared this morning on the Don Imus radio show. Brokaw agreed with Imus that it is “difficult to imagine” how the execution of Saddam Hussein “could have turned out worse.”
“[W]e portray ourselves around the world as the champions of democracy and the rule of law,” Brokaw said, yet Hussein’s execution “resembled the worst kind of nightmare out of the old American West.” As a result, Hussein, who “had disappeared, in effect, as some kind of a symbol over there, suddenly becomes a martyr.” Watch it:
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