In this clip from a recently recorded episode of Bloggingheads, the New York Sun’s Eli Lake and I discuss who Iran is really backing in Iraq, what happened in Basra, and how Muqtada al-Sadr spoiled Iran’s plans to rule post-war Iraq.
I was over on ESPN’s website hoping to read something interesting previewing tonight’s Spurs-Hornets showdown (I think New Orleans will win and San Antonio will get an infusion of foreign talent during the offseason — Tiago Splitter, etc. — and win the 2009 championship when the odd-numbered year gives them the edge) but instead my eye was caught by this eye-catching headline: “Wade buys mom a church after she completes turnaround”.
Can you even buy a church? I wondered. But it turns out that Wade didn’t so much buy his mom a church as he bought a building in which to house a church that she founded a bit back. My assumption is that it’s not actually possible to buy a church or other non-profit institution, though presumably one non-profit could be folded into a larger, richer one in a purchase-like scenario. Anyways, consider this a basketball/church thread.
Command and General Staff College faculty and students will begin blogging as part of their curriculum and writing requirements both within the .mil and public environments. In addition CAC subordinate organizations will begin to engage in the blogosphere in an effort to communicate the myriad of activities that CAC is accomplishing and help assist telling the Army’s story to a wide and diverse audience.
As part of this effort, CAC has even started its own blog. But as Noah Shachtman notes, “It’s a position that appears to run counter to stated Pentagon policy. YouTube is officially banned on military networks. Personal blogs cannot be maintained during duty hours. Many influential blogs are blocked. Stringent regulations, read literally, require commanding officers to review each and every item one of his soldiers puts online.”
Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) campaign has recently begun purging itself of lobbyists. Yesterday, a fifth aide resigned because of lobbying ties. Yet McCain is still refusing to fire certain top aides, like campaign manager Rick Davis, who is a former lobbyist. Charlie Black, another former lobbyist who is McCain’s senior adviser, told reporters today that “Rick Davis and nobody else at his firm either has been a registered lobbyist in five years.” CNN’s Dana Bash reports today, however, that Davis’s old firm “can still use his name to recruit business since it’s still on the letterhead.” Watch it:
Additionally, Black’s claim that neither Davis nor his anyone at his firm have been registered as lobbyists in five years appears to be false. Here’s an image of a lobbying report from 2005 that has Davis listed as an “individual who acted as a lobbyist.”
John Hinckley, the deranged would-be assassin who attempted to kill US president Ronald Reagan in 1981, claimed that he was inspired by it. He said that his action was an attempt to impress Foster. (The movie features a scene in which a mohawked De Niro attempts to assassinate a politician.)
According to Mundell, the wave of sympathy for Reagan that was engendered by the assassination attempt deterred Democrats in Congress from voting against his proposed tax cuts. Because of this accident of history, the US administered a big fiscal stimulus at the same time that Paul Volcker at the Federal Reserve was administering tight money. This, for Mundell, was vital in creating the era of prosperity that followed.
Frankly, all the evidence used in this argument strikes me as suspect. John Hinckley was a crazy person, and I see little clear reason to believe that in a Taxi Driver-less world he wouldn’t have seized on some other putative reason to shoot the president. Nor do I see clear reason to believe that the Hinkley shooting was essential to getting the tax cuts passed (Reagan’s large electoral win plus the fact that tax cuts are popular seem like an adequate explanation), or that the tax cuts had such a large positive impact on economic growth (after all, within a couple of years even Reagan was agreeing to start rolling them back).
But apparently Mundell has a Nobel prize, so what do I know?
It seems that Haim Saban, a major Clinton donor and also the primary financial backer of Brookings’ Middle East policy output, tried to bribe the Young Democrats of America into throwing their superdelegate support to Hillary Clinton. Sleazy, if true, and it certainly seems to be true.
Somebody sent me this Kathleen Parket column a few days ago all outraged and I scanned it and didn’t quite get the outrage. Here’s the lede:
That’s how 24-year-old Josh Fry of West Virginia described his preference for John McCain over Barack Obama. His feelings aren’t racist, he explained. He would just be more comfortable with “someone who is a full-blooded American as president.”
When I read this in a fog, not realizing who Parker was, I just assumed that was a set-up for a column about racist opposition to Barack Obama and skipped past the rest. But no! Parker is endorsing Fry’s allegedly non-racist sentiments here. And yet, how could sentiments get any more clearly racist than by making explicit references to alleged deficiencies in Obama’s bloodlines? Parker later cashes out the concept more thoroughly as “It’s about blood equity, heritage and commitment to hard-won American values. And roots.” Again, blood equity? Heritage? That’s not racist code words, she’s just saying directly that Obama lacks the appropriate ancestry to be President and also that in virtue of his ancestry he’s probably lazy.
Jon Chait notes the similarity to some traditional tropes of anti-semitism, “a device that’s historically been used to deny the possibility that rootless, cosmopolitan Jews can be full members of a society.” More broadly, it nicely dovetails with the anti-immigrant sentiment currently blossoming on the right as we learn that people with unduly recent roots abroad lack what it takes for full-bloodedness. How disgusting.
Earlier this month, the Pentagon released a document dump in response to the New York Times’s expose on its military analyst program. The documents raise questions about White House involvement in the program, which it previously denied.
For example, a March 16, 2006 e-mail from a Pentagon staffer said he or she was “hoping to have Hadley brief these guys [military analysts] next week,” referring to National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley. Pentagon official Dallas Lawrence added, “Id love to see if we ocould get them in with potus as well. (I think that was submitted to karl and company…last week),” suggesting involvement in the program from then-Bush adviser Karl Rove.
In today’s White House briefing, a reporter asked spokesperson Scott Stanzel about these e-mails and meetings. Without denying White House involvement, Stanzel defended the program, saying it is the equivalent of giving information to someone who writes for a “liberal blog”:
But it’s not unusual for administration officials to brief people who are talking about our plans and our policies… just like I’m standing here answering your question and you go out on your liberal blog and talk about, you know, the way that you see things, we brief people who talk about the president’s policies.
As the reporter noted, however, the White House’s meetings with Pentagon officials and military analysts were “kept secret.” In contrast, the White House press briefings where the “liberal” reporter receives his information are available on cable television. “You can talk to the Defense Department. It was their program,” said Stanzel when asked why the meetings were not public.
Stanzel also ignored the fact that the military analysts often had “ties to military contractors vested in the very war policies they are asked to assess.” A Fox analyst, for example, was “seeking contracts worth tens of millions” of dollars while giving on-air assessments of the Iraq war. Liberal bloggers, on the other hand, generally do not have multi-million dollar government contracts at stake in their writing.
Today, Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (D) vetoed a bill that would require voters starting in 2010 to show identification at the polls. In her veto message, she said, “[N]o elected official should support enacting new laws discouraging or disenfranchising any American who has been legally voting for years.” Sebelius added that the bill “seeks to solve a problem of voter fraud which does not exist in our state.”
I can’t remember the plot of the Prince Caspian book at all, but according to Ross the film version departed significantly from the book. So I can’t say whether or not this objection applies to the book as well, but when I walked out of the theater I found myself badly disappointed by Aslan’s proposed response to conflict between the Telmurines and the Old Narnians. Offering to transport Telmurines back to the island their ancestors came from in the distant past would make about as much sense as rectifying the unjust dispossession of the Native Americans by suggesting that present-day Americans all go back to the countries our ancestors immigrated from.
It doesn’t make sense on a practical level (the Telmarines new neighbors aren’t going to be happy with it at all) and it doesn’t make sense on a moral level — as best I can tell, your typical modern-day Telmarine (as opposed to the king and a small circle of high officials) hasn’t done anything wrong. Putting this proposal in context of Prince Caspian riding to power at the head of an army of mythological creatures is just going to turn the Prince into a Quisling figure in the eyes of the human population.