CNN’s Dana Bash, who is reporting from Idaho, said today that her sources “do think that Senator Craig will likely resign pretty soon. That is sort of the sense that people are getting.”
I think Bill Richardson is asking good questions:
In the most recent debate, he asked the other major candidates a clear question: how many troops would you leave behind and for how long? We have yet to hear an answer.
All the major Democratic candidates say they are eager to end this war, and they all say they don’t believe there is a military solution in Iraq. Why, then, do they maintain that we must leave an indefinite number of troops behind for an indeterminate amount of time to work hopelessly towards a military solution everyone says doesn’t exist?
Richardson, as he points out, stands for a complete withdrawal from Iraq — the only policy that can reasonably follow from the premises that Clinton, Obama, and Edwards have all joined him in endorsing and the only one that lives up to the promises all three have made to end the war. I’m not sure many liberals have really grasped how absurd it is that we seem destined to witness a 2008 campaign in which both major party nominees support continuing the war. Nor do the Clinton/Obama/Edwards camps seem to have given serious consideration to the fact that their general election adversary will probably find it relatively easy to ridicule this “end the war, but keep fighting it” stance the Democrats have all adopted.
A military cargo plane carrying three senators — Mel Martinez (R-FL), Richard Shelby (R-AL), and James Inhofe (R-OK) — and a House member — Bud Cramer (D-IL) — was forced to take evasive maneuvers and dispatch flares to avoid ground fire after taking off from Baghdad on Thursday night. The AP reports:
The lawmakers said their plane, a C-130, was under fire from three rocket-propelled grenades over the course of several minutes as they left for Amman, Jordan.
”It was a scary moment,” said Sen. Mel Martinez, R-Fla., who said he had just taken off his body armor when he saw a bright flash outside the window. ”Our pilots were terrific. … They banked in one direction and then banked the other direction, and they set off the flares.” [...]
”We were jostled around pretty good,” said Cramer, who estimated the plane had ascended to about 6,000 feet. ”There were a few minutes there where I wondered: ‘Have we been hit? Are we OK?”’ [...]
”It was kind of dicey,” Shelby said. ”But it just shows you what our troops go through every day.”
Scott Lemieux on dog fighting versus factory farming:
There are, I think, some colorable substantive distinctions; in particular, Vick’s actions (not just the dogfighting but the additional torture-killing of the dogs) represents a sadism for its own sake that factory farming doesn’t, and hence it’s reasonable for the law to treat them differently. But is this distinction enough to justify significant federal jail time for Vick in a country where factory farming is not only legal but subsidized? Seems like a hard case to make. Can eaters of mass-produced meat (or, even more so, people who see nothing wrong with mass-produced meat) justify intense outrage at Vick? It’s hard to rationally justify, I think. A little humility is on order for those of us with bad faith eating practices.
But let’s try this enough way. Speaking as liberals, as Scott and I are, we can (and, I think, should) simply embrace some hypocrisy on this front. It seems to me that I should probably only eat “cruelty free” meat. And it’s actually the case that I eat more of such meat than I would were I totally indifferent to this issue. But I’m far, far, far away from actually living in compliance with this idea. But this is actually a common liberal phenomenon. I believe the country should adopt policies related to health care that would almost certainly represent a net transfer of resources away from a person like me toward others in greater need. I don’t, however, personally transfer any resources in this direction.
Which is just to say that Michael Vick has violated some laws against animal cruelty. To observe that other kinds of cruel treatment of animals related to the industrial food process should be subjected to more stringent regulation isn’t a reason for Vick to be let off the hook. That in the absence of such regulation, a lot of people who think there should be stricter ones find it difficult to live up to our own ethical ideas arguably just strengthens the case for regulation. I’m not, in general, a big believer in the idea that not living in accordance with hypothetical regulatory frameworks while still believing such frameworks should be constructed (supporting a carbon tax or a cap-and-trade scheme while still having a large carbon footprint, for example) constitutes hypocrisy in a meaningful way.
Here’s some stuff I agree with and don’t have anything to add to:
- ONE Campaign poll of Iowa caucus goers shows that people think we should be doing more to fight developing world poverty.
- The National Security Network rounds up the considerable evidence that the alleged drop in violence in Iraq isn’t actually happening.
- Sam Boyd is appropriate skeptical of designer accessory makers’ claims that buying counterfeit bags and wallets is causing terrorism.
- Brad DeLong on late 19th century shipping trends.
- Moira Whelan is puzzled as Iyad Allawi picks up the endorsement of the exiled leadership of the Iraqi Baath Party.
It appears that some ambiguous phrasing on my part has sparked some outrage about my ill-informed views from Jonah Goldberg and Yuval Levin and led to a bunch more interesting posts on the subject of farm subsidies. At issue was a post I wrote a couple of days ago, referring to the 2002 Farm Bill where I said “he was all for it” back then. I’d intended “he” to refer to President Bush, but the NRO crew has taken me to have been referring to Levin who, in fact, like most conservative intellectuals and policy types has been consistently and rightly against farm subsidies forever and ever.
What the subject of farm subsidies mostly shows, however, is that at the end of the day nobody in politics really seems to care what intellectuals and policy people think. If some big ideas or serious policy research or principled ideological stance can help advance important priorities of key interest groups, then suddenly ideology and policy analysis begin to appear very important. But when all the interest group pressure is for farm subsidies, it doesn’t matter that all the policy analysis is on the other side.
Yesterday, the Center for American Progress hosted an event examining the recent amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. One panel, moderated by ThinkProgress editor Faiz Shakir, featured prominent bloggers and activists who have led the campaign to rein in the administration’s quest for expansive powers. If you missed it, you can now watch the video HERE. Also, check out more coverage of the event in today’s Washington Post.
Energy efficiency easiest path to aid climate – Reuters. “The cash needed to return rising [global] emissions, mainly from burning fossil fuels, to current levels by 2030 would amount to 0.3 to 0.5 percent of projected gross domestic product (GDP), or 1.1 to 1.7 percent of global investment flows, in 2030,” according to a new U.N. report that can be found here.
As China Roars, Pollution Reaches Deadly Extremes – New York Times. One of the best newspaper articles ever written on China’s pollution problem.
Vulnerable to rising seas, Singapore envisions a giant seawall – International Herald Tribune “Most of the business-end of Singapore – its airport, its business district and, of course, its busy container ports, lie less than two meters above sea level.” Just how ideal it is to live on a walled island is another issue. I’m sure any Singaporean would agree – let’s just keep the sea from rising.
To go green in jet fuel, Boeing looks at algae – Seattle Times. “These slimy aquatic creatures not only absorb great quantities of carbon dioxide during their lifetime, but they are also the source of energy-rich oil that can be turned into fuel. Lurking in the depths of ponds, they take a lot less space than conventional horizontal above-ground crops — and they can live in brackish water.” Bottom Line: “Instead of needing all of Florida [for U.S. transport needs], you could provide the whole world’s fleet with biojet fuel if you had a bioreactor the size of Maryland.”
Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-CA) added her name to the list of analysts and lawmakers who are raising concerns about Gen. David Petraeus’s “conflicting loyalty” between “the desire to please the president” and to report the unvarnished truth about Bush’s strategy.
In an interview with ThinkProgress, Tauscher said:
We have to be sanguine about the surge, and it’s [Petreaus's] idea. He is a fabulous military officer and tremendous pedigree, but I don’t know anybody that doesn’t want to sell their idea and keep selling it. I don’t know anybody that doesn’t think that people that aren’t for his idea are critical. So I think he’s been put in a terrible position by the Commander-In-Chief.
Revealing the deep insecurity of life in Iraq — including inside the Green Zone — Tauscher said that a mortar fell near her compound during the one of her nights in Iraq.
Tauscher used the incident to note the “constant, constant, constant stress” that troops are under. “It’s not just going to the front line, it’s going to the chow line that is a place of danger in Iraq,” she said.
Tauscher said “we are breaking” the soldiers on the ground. “The number of suicides has gone up dramatically, the number of attempts have gone up geometrically. … It’s our duty to take care of these people as they take care of us.”
It looks like the Iranian nuclear program is only advancing sluggishly and that some Iranian elites are wondering if it really makes sense to continue down this path. Of course, one way to convince them to do so would be to start bombing their country. But I guess since they’re “already at war with us” we have no choice, right?