The blog that didn't bark.

A mostly political Weblog.
July 24 2006 2:15 PM

Hola, Kos!

The blog that didn't bark.

ABC: It's the Dems Race to Lose! The liberal summer interns who have taken over the writing of ABC's The Note need to get out of Lauriol Plaza!** Here's point #7 in their rundown of GOP midterm troubles:

7. IMMIGRATION: It is still hard to envision a plausible outcome that will help the Republicans in November. Do-no-harm seems their best bet, and even that looks tough.

Huh? Is it really hard to envision an immigration outcome that helps the GOPs in November? How about: Congress remains deadlocked and House members use their enforcement-oriented stand to rally their base? ... Or Congress passes a House-style enforcmenent bill with a comprehensive-reform-later Senate fig leaf--which satisfies voters that at least something has been done. ... Maybe the Note's seemingly warped conclusion is based on an ultra-sophisticated, insider's seat-by-seat analysis of where the Republican base might make a difference. If so, it's an analysis that eluded the Washington Post's Jonathan Weisman, who points to four such seats.  The Post's subhed: "Will the Immigration Issue Save the Republicans?" Guess they can at least envision it. ...

**--P.S.:The Note is so off here that it raises an intriguing, second-tier question: Which Democratic consultant, pollster, or politician are they paying way too much attention to? In 2004 the leading candidate for Note Misleader was Kerry aide Jim Jordan. A good clue as to who's performing similar duties in 2006 might have been contained in today's embarrassingly sycophantic point #6:

6. MR. SCHUMER AND MR. EMANUEL: These cats are not fooling around.

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11:09 A.M.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Et Tu, Tom? Even WaPo's Tom Ricks, consistent Iraq War critic and author of Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq, is against withdrawing the troops now. On Meet the Press today he said [ video available here ]:

I think it would be irresponsible to go in there and do what we've done and then walk away from it. There's a lot of Iraqis out there who have committed their lives to helping the Americans do something there. And to abandon those people would be absolutely shameful as well. [Emphasis added]

Sorry, Arianna! ... P.S.: That moral calculation doesn't mean Bush and the Republicans shouldn't be held accountable, but it does complicate the picture for Democratic candidates who might seek to appeal to the "netroots" by one-upping each other on calls for withdrawal. ... 11:58 P.M.

The proverbial plan so crazy it just might work. ... 11:25 P.M.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Hola, Kos! The Blog That Didn't Bark:  Slate's John Dickerson notes that ex-Gov. Mark Warner

has largely been able to skirt the contentious issues so far, though in the latest loyalty test he says he is supporting Joe Lieberman in his Democratic primary race against Ned Lamont. [Emphasis added]

No doubt Warner's Lieberman kiss will earn a strong rebuke from Daily Kos' Markos Moulitsas, even though Warner has hired Kos' buddy Jerome Armstrong. ... It must just be my inferior search skills that prevent me from finding Kos' vehement attack! ... After all, Kos  snipes at Sen. Dodd  and Senators Boxer and Biden for their support of Lieberman in the primary. How is  Warner any different? .... 5:56 P.M link

Is the Democratic elite turning against the teachers' unions?Eduwonk thinks so. Some evidence (and not just from Eduwonk): 1) Democratic Governor-in-waiting Eliot Spitzer of New York has endorsed opening more independent charter schools--which are typically not unionized to the same degree as public schools--after a study  showed many of them to be doing better than their traditional public competitors.** 2)  Speaking at the recent fancy Aspen Institute event, former Clinton official (and now New York City schools chancellor) Joel Klein made a "case that teachers-union contracts are the main obstacle to improving urban education," according to Mort Kondracke:

"The contract protects the interests of adults at the expense of kids," he told a rapt audience, describing how it bars pay differentials based on student performance and service in difficult schools; makes it impossible for principals to fire underperforming teachers; and allows teachers to choose their own professional development tracks, regardless of supply-and-demand needs, such as those for more math and science teachers.

3) Also according to Kondracke, the Soros-approved, pro-Dem Center for American Progress, headed by former Clinton chief of staff John Podesta, has joined with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in an effort  "likely to target teachers unions that resist reform." (CAP says only, "The Chamber will use the results of the analysis to formulate and aggressively advance public policies to improve state education systems ... ") ...

**-- This study seems significant. Is it? I don't trust the NY Post'sanalysis, and look to Eduwonk for guidance. ... Update:RCP's Ryan Sager says the results mean "a little but not a lot"  and explains why. Fred Hess, a charter supporter,  warns more strongly against relying on the study. ... 1:37 P.M. link

ABC Buries the Lede--For a Reason: Here's Point #4 from yesterday's  ABC News Note summary of "key stories" that bear on whether the "Democratic Party [is] on the right track or the wrong track to break from recent electoral patterns ...." Emphasis added:

4. In a front page story, USA Today's Jill Lawrence reports on a resurgence in union membership across the nation and the two main umbrella organizations playing nicely together, which has allowed the House of Labor to move forward with plans to spend $40 million on voter turn out this fall. LINK

Is there "a resurgence in union membership across the nation"? That would be stunning news, since union membership has been in relentless long term decline for fifty years--"from more than 35 percent [in 1955] to 12.5 percent last year, including only 7.9 percent of the private-sector workforce," according to a  Thomas Edsall WaPo piece from September, 2005. But I can't find any mention of this surprising resurgence in union membership in the Post, or the New York Times. I can't find it on Google (to the contrary). I can't find it on the website of the "strategic organizing" Change to Win unions--you'd think they'd boast about it. And there's no mention of it in the USA Today story ABC says reports it. (That's a story about unions raising political campaign money and cooperating with each other, which is different.) Tentative conclusion: It doesn't exist. There's no resurgence in union membership. The Note item is in error. [And "it reflects the subconscious liberal yearnings of whatever MSM summer intern wrote it unaware that the cumbersome legalistic mechanisms of Wagner Act unionism are incompatible with productive success in a fast-moving global high-tech economy"?--ed You said that.] 12:57 P.M. link

Friday, July 21, 2006

I missed Wednesday night's unveiling of the Tesla electric sports car in Santa Monica. ... Prof. Reynolds is skeptical. ... My friend D.L., who drives a souped-up Porsche, was impressed. He emails:

Was at the Tesla event, lots people and everyone got a short ride....

You remember what I said about getting a powerful car makes you happier because everytime you step on the gas you get a little hormonal rush.

Well, this is better.   It's all about the rush, not the motor (which is silent), it feels like space car on wheels.  Like an amusement park thrill ride.   If you ever had a slot car and wondered "Why don't they build big cars like this" - well, they did.   Fun, fun, fun...

The electric-car-from-people-who-like-fast-cars approach has intriguing uncrunchy appeal. Usually fast, sexy cars get all the attention, right? But the Tesla might cause some semiotic confusion among all the L.A. players who've recently bought Priuses because it's considered sexy in Hollywood to not like fast cars. ... Meanwhile: Gas cars are getting out of hand. ... 12:50 P.M.

Rocky Balboa, I.D. Please!  At a well-attended  Zocalo public forum on immigration in L.A. on Wednesday, prominent attorney/activist Connie Rice asserted confidently that one thing the experts agree on is that Americans aren't willing to take meatpacking-plant jobs. Is that right? ... 12:14 P.M.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Who's Driving My Plano?--Update: Kidney heroVirginia Postrel's Dynamist has become the go-to site for the Plano controversy that's gripped the blogosphere by the throat. ... One of Postrel's Dallas readers resurrects the theory--left behind in my  Dunkirk-like evacuation of this blog's earlier position--that the Plano theater "draws people from all over the far-northern suburbs," making Plano B.O. an invalid barometer of a film's popularity among (relatively conservative) Planoites. ... 10:26 P.M.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Everybody's talking about how there's nothing everybody talks about! Bob Wright and I discuss, somewhat inconclusively, the issue of whether the Webbish "long tail" phenomenon will undesirably reduce the sphere of shared culture. E-mailer C. Friedersdorf says it won't

... because even though there are fewer people watching Jay Leno every night, it's now much easier to communicate with all the people who are watching.

When Bob and Mickey were growing up, you went to school if you wanted to talk about the Ed Sullivan Show and hoped your classmates would be talking about it.

Today if you watch even a niche Bravo reality tv show -- say Top Chef or Project Runway -- you go to Technorati an hour after the show ends and find hundreds of people, far more than attend your classes or work in your office, who are talking about that night's show.

One more point:

if the obscure episode of Project Runway happened to include a defining cultural moment -- let's say Heidi Klum's dress slipped off -- someone would post it on YouTube, and people would send it to one another on e-mail, etc.

So years ago, common culture required that everyone be watching something at once. Now the Web allows things that would become defining cultural moments but for an audience to attract that audience after the fact.

How many people say that World Cup head butt live? How many saw it on SportsCenter, on an Internet video clip, etc. later on?

That last, boldfaced argument seems powerful. ... P.S.: Isn't the ubiquitous Web discussion of Chris Anderson's Long Tail book itself a small refutation of the common-culture-is-dead thesis?  ... Update: Here's Anderson himself declaring that "hits aren't dead"-- which would seem to save the sphere of shared culture. Whew! ...  6:52 P.M. link

What you mean "we," Sen. Clinton? When I read in the NYT  that Hillary Clinton had

chastised Democrats Saturday for taking on issues that arouse conservatives and turn out Republican voters rather than finding consensus on mainstream subjects

I thought for one giddy moment that she had actually said something interesting! I should have known better. Media Matters for America  argues that the NYT misreported Hillary's comments--she was really criticizing Republicans when she said

You know, we do things that are controversial. We do things that try to inflame their base so they can turn people out and vote for their candidates. I think we are wasting time.

While Hillary clearly uses "we" in the previous paragraph to mean "we Democrats," she's almost certainly shifted its meaning in this sentence to mean "we Senators." (Listen for yourself here.) Hillary's most dramatic statement of centrist independence turns out to be a case of crappy syntax. ... P.S.: Media Matters didn't act quickly enough to stop non-centrist lefties from taking umbrage. ... Advice to Hillary: Go with it! The NYT is trying to steer you in the winning direction. Dems are so victory-oriented this year it's not enough to bash the available Souljahs--they're in hiding. You have to actively goad the Souljahs to come out of the woodwork to be bashed! ... 12:42 P.M.

Rear-wheel drive, on the march: How do we know? We have stats. ...  [Thanks to reader S.R.] 12:20 P.M.

Mystery Pollster vs. Kos: On bogus charges of Lieberman "push polls."12:50 A.M.

Monday, July 17, 2006

"Progressive Realism": My colleague Robert Wright's bigthink foreign policy op-ed is currently #4 on the NYT's most e-mailed list, and gaining on Shamu! Here are some questions I hope to take up with Wright on bloggingheads.tv tomorrow:

1. Isn't it crude and unfair to accuse President Bush of failing to understand "the perspective of the other," including "why some people hate America, and why terorists kill"? As E.J. Dionne notes, one premise of the neocon "Big Bang" theory on which Bush acted in Iraq was precisely that "authoritarian regimes bred opposition movements rebelling against the conditions under which too many people lived." Sounds like empathy to me!

2. Wright discounts the short-term costs --in terms of frustrated aspirations and resentment--of delaying the introduction of democracy while we wait for its inevitable natural triumph in the wake of free markets and free trade. But Wright gives great weight to the short-term costs of military action, in terms of potential terrorists angered by the Iraq invasion. Some sort of double accounting standard is being applied here, no? Maybe the anger produced by the Iraq war can realistically be discounted because (like authoritarianism) it will disappear by the time the "bioweapons most plausibly available to terrorists" become "effective weapons of truly mass destruction."

3. A global regime based on "highly intrusive inspections" for WMDs may be necessary, but it sounds almost as "wearying" as a regime based on invasion and regime-change--a constant backdrop of cheating and retreating, accompanied by the threat (or the attempt to prod the Security Council into making the threat) of international sanction or military punishment. Think the winter of 2002 made permanent. Is that an appealing future? ...

4. Wright claims that if we wait for "authoritarianism's demise" rather than trying to force the pace thgrough "invasion or American-backed coups d'etat" the result will be "more indigenous, more culturally authentic paths to democracy." Sounds right. But is the messy attempt at democracy now being undertaken by the Iraqis not "culturally authentic"? If anything it seems too authentic--authentically Shiite vs. authentically Sunni. ...

5. If advances in "information technology" and "munitions technology" establish an "alarming principle" under which "grass-roots hatred and resentment of American may be converted into the death of Americans with growing efficiency," how can we possibly reduce hatred enough to save our skins? If, eventually, any 12 angry men--assuming they're reasonably well-educated--will be able to cook up a devastating attack, isn't it hopeless? We'll never lower the number of angry anti-Americans to single digits.

Update: Bob responds to these questions on video here. ...  Instapundit says I "[make] the case for war." I thought I was making a case against a case against war. Not the same thing at all! But I do think it's too early to declare the war a failure the way Dionne does (and George Will doesn't quite). ... 1:54 A.M. link

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Escape from Plano! Virginia Postrel, who lives in Dallas, says I'm wrong about Plano not being socially conservative as well as pro-Bush:

Plano is, in fact, a good representative of Red America. Its residents are educated and affluent, and they are also solidly conservative. They vote Republican the way Westside Angelenos vote Democratic--because it's the normal thing to do. Many of them also go to big megachurches that preach very conservative doctrines in a contemporary style because that, too, is normal.  ... I don't have poll numbers, but I doubt that a lot of those soccer moms driving SUVs while talking on their cell phones accept Darwinian evolution either--not that it comes up very often. ...

Plano is conservative in all the ways that matter to contemporary politics.

Was my charge--that Plano's not a "conservative bastion"--influenced by the crude belief that someone with (in Postrel's words) "a lot of money, a professional education, and a fancy car" wouldn't tend to be a "quasi-fundamentalist Christian with socially conservative views." Yes! And I cling to that prejudice, especially if you add "and works in a high-tech industry where you wind up hiring a lot of gay college grads."  I don't think, in those circumstances, you can afford to get as wildly exercised about sodomy and sin (and if you do, you'll get beaten by Silicon Valley firms that don't). Ideology is determined by the mode of production, comrades! But I defer to Postrel's expertise on the culture of actual, existing Plano.

I still don't think that if a liberal film does well in Plano's Angelika art house cinema it means the movie's "reaching the red states"  in the sense that matters--i.e. the preaching-to-the-unconverted sense. Is that because the Angelika art house draws liberals from throughout the Dallas metro area? Postrel rejects that theory as well--Plano's too far away. (And, as various emailers and bloggers have noted, there are art house theaters, including an Angelika, in Dallas proper.) Instead she argues that

Plano ... is a big enough place that even a small minority represents a lot of buying power. If every left-of-center Planoite bought a ticket to An Inconvenient Truth, the Gore film would sell out at the art houses.

Twenty-eight percent of Collin County voted for Kerry, remember.

I will seek refuge in this last-resort fall-back argument. It's still a PR-man's con to pretend that a movie's reaching "red state America" because it does well at the Angelika in Plano--just not for any of the reasons I said! ...

P.S.: Postrel gives her thoughts on the Brokeback-in-Plano debate too. l'll let you read them for yourselves. I deny, though, that in Brokeback "'[t]here are no cartoonish villains designed to prod you to [the protagonists'] side.'" What about the anonymous rube-ex-machina homophobic thugs who show up at various points to pummel suspected gays? They're so cartoonish the filmmakers don't dare show their faces. 11:21 P.M. link

Dem fave campaign finance expert Bob Bauer suggests that press (and kf) fave campaign finance expert Trevor Potter is helping prepare a powerful job for himself as head of the proposed new Federal Election Administration. ... 10:34 P.M.

Buried Lede of the Week: Did Bill Clinton "hint that we went to war for Israel":? Atlantic editor James Bennet, blogging about an Aspen colloquy between the former president and James Fallows:

That sounded like a hint that we went to war for Israel: When Jim asked how the Democrats should handle the Iraq war, Clinton replied in part, "We ought to be whipped, us Democrats, if we allow our differences over what to do now in Iraq to divide us" instead of sticking it to the Republicans. He segued into a discussion of Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman's position in favor of going to war, noting how it squared with the view of Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and others that Saddam Hussein was such a menace he should be removed regardless of whether he had WMD. Then, out of the blue, came this: "That was also the position of every Israeli politician I knew, by the way." Huh? Where did that come from?

It may have been true - though I knew some Israeli politicians with doubts about the war - but what did it have to do with the rest of his comments? Was it an accusation of dual loyalty? [Emphasis added]

Bennet's powerful alternative explanation: Clinton was just flirting with Queen Noor. ... 12:57 P.M. link

New Holden Commodore! It's Australian. It won't be sold here.  It was only introduced today and it already looks tired. But it's made by GM and might provide the company's North American branch wiith the rear-drive sedan chassis it desperately needs 2:11 A.M.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

I admit I doubted reading Lebanese and Israeli bloggers would be a very useful way to learn about the latest Mideast fighting. I mean, anyone with a modem can just spout off! But N.Z. Bear's Topics Page  turns out to be a highly efficient and engaging way to get the flavor and texture of the conflict. (Example: The advice of Big Pharoah'sdad.) Maybe Bear only picks the best ones. ...  P.S.: Are there really no Palestinian bloggers worth listing? ... Update:Kausfiles gets results! Bear has added Palestinian blogs--over a dozen of them. ... 11:52 A.M.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Dead Man's Chest: "Keira Knightley is not suffering from anorexia. She's just incredibly, incredibly skinny." E. Snead:

She told People that she knows she's not suffering from the common eating disorder because her grandmother and great-grandmother suffered from it. Um, o-kay ...

2:34 A.M.

Skelton in the Dark?  Last Fall, L.A. Times state politics columnist George Skelton urged his readers to vote against the redistricting reform Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger had placed on the ballot (as Prop. 77). Skelton conceded reform was necessary to prevent self-serving pols from carving out safe seats--the current system was "indefensible," he declared. But Schwarzenegger's plan, which relied on a panel of retired judges to draw the lines, had some "Rube Goldberg gadgetry."  Sure, but wasn't it the only proposal likely to come along for a while? Don't worry, Skelton said--the Democrats who control the legislature had "pledged to pass a sane, bipartisan plan next year."

[E]ven Democratic lawmakers are pledging to strip themselves of their redistricting power. Very few politicians still are arguing that the Legislature should keep drawing its own maps.

Well, now it's next year and, gee, the Democrats are somehow unable to agree on a redistricting reform plan!   Skelton tells us that unless they are offered the "sweetener" of weakened term limits, "it's not likely that Assembly Democrats will surrender the right to shape their own districts. "

"It's very difficult for members to give up any power," notes [reformer Alan] Lowenthal, who argued fruitlessly for his proposal at a Senate Democratic caucus just before legislators adjourned for a five-week vacation.

Here's a question: Is Skelton such a fool that he actually believed the Democrats would pass a redistricting reform once they'd defeated Schwarzenegger's? Or was he swayed by a not-so-subtle not-so-subconscious anti-Schwarzenegger bias--perhaps a desire to deny the governor a victory, or to see him humbled, or to please layoff-prone LAT bosses who might entertain those anti-Arnold impulses? Either way, doesn't Skelton owe his readers an apology for his pathetically bad judgment and advice? Any idiot (e.g. me, and Kos) could see at the time that Prop. 77 was probably the best shot Californians would have to end safe-seat gerrymandering for many years.

7/14 Update: Schwarzenegger now publicly advocates a weaker term-limit/redistricting reform combo. I don't quite see how it helps the semi-popular cause of redistricting reform to add to it an even less popular anti-term-limit cause. But Schwarzenegger has been forced to appease Democratic legislators who've reneged on their anti-gerrymandering pledge. ... 1:35 A.M. link

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The Plano Con is back. Once again a leftish movie is claiming "red-state" embrace simply because it's doing good business at a metroplex in what one kf reader calls a

"ritzy, upscale, SUV-choked, conspicuous-consumption-driven Dallas exurb populated by more east-coast 'expatriates' than native Texans."

Last year it was Brokeback Mountain'sproducers, via Frank Rich  [$], successfully using the bogus Plano example. This year it's the promoters of Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth. S.F. Chronicle'sgullible Joe Garofoli reports (in an article headlined "Gore movie is reaching the red states too")  that Truth is getting "off-the-chart audience recommendations in conservative bastions like Plano."  The film's pleasing of Plano allegedly shows it's is reaching what its director Davis Guggenheim calls "that guy driving a pickup who is a little bit skeptical of what global warming is about."  Don't believe it. ... P.S.: Not only is Plano not alll that much of a "conservative bastion"**[see Update below]--and certainly not the good-ol'-boy cow town its characterful name conjures for clueless coastal types--but movies playing there typically draw "liberals travelling from around the metro region, not conservatives from the immediate vicinity," notes alert reader T.M. ... [Emphasis added]

**--Here's T.M.'s description of Plano: "Plano is no more conservative than Sunnyvale or Palo Alto; it's a typical 21c American metropolitan suburban mongrel (10% Asian, 10% hispanic) that comprises newcomers from a wide variety of backgrounds and income groups. There are subdivisions with million-dollar McMansions, others between $300-450k. It isn't redneck by any stretch, or old-money Replublican. ... Plano's character, if it has one, is defined by a) white-collar managers at corporate headquarters of bland retail and technology firms (EDS, JC Penney, Frito Lay etc) and b) families obsessed with outstanding schools for their kids".

Update--I Am Curious, Plano: Numerous readers email to note Plano's very Republican voting record-- Collin County, less than half of which is Plano, went 71% for Bush in 2004. It's definitely a Bush bastion. It's less clear to me that it's a "conservative" bastion if by that you mean social conservative (gay marriage, school prayer, abortion, etc.). Nor does it seem to be a "pickup" truck, chewin' tobacco bastion in the classic sense. More of a Bobo Boomburg. Either way, the use of Plano to demonstrate red state outreach is still a PR-man's con because, as mentioned, the Angelika Film Center, where the Gore movie is showing, draws from the entire Dallas metro area. It's an art house featuring standard art house films--such as (currently) "Keeping Up with the Steins" and "Wassup Rockers." If a film does well there that says no more about any subversive appeal to conservatives than if the film sold out the NuArt in West L.A.. Or the Angelika Film Center on Houston St. in Manhattan, for that matter.

More: Robert Farley notes  that pro-market economic conservatives might be less receptive to the global warming argument than moralistic social conservatives--so ifa) Plano's filled with economic-but-not-social conservatives and if b) they're going to the movie, then c) Gore really is making inroads into enemy territory. Good point. But I doubt they're the ones going to the movie. ... P.S.: And note that the Chronicle's  Garofoli doesn't even claim the movie is doing well in Plano, just that it's getting "off-the-chart audience recommendations." ... 5:33 P.M. link

Mystery Pollster on why it's so hard to poll accurately in the Lieberman/Lamont Connecticut primary. ... 4:57 P.M.

Come Home, Dick Morris! All is Forgiven: The nearest thing to an actual ideological manifesto from Markos Moulitsas that I've seen is this piece on "The Libertarian Dem."  In it, Moulitsas says nothing about combating the evil of globalization, or reining in obscene incomes at the top. He conspicuously fails to mention providing more resources for our public schools. Affirmative action? Democrats have long tried to redress generations of racism through preferences, but in the face of concerted Republican attack on this core Democratic idea, Moulitsas is silent. Indeed he calls for a "society where success is predicated on the merit of our ideas and efforts"--code words that Justices Thomas and Scalia understand all too well! Then comes some red meat for the Reagan crowd :

Our first proposed solution to a problem facing our nation shouldn't be more regulation, more government programs, more bureaucracy.

And in what he admits is part of an appeal to "Mountain West" Democrats, Kos explicitly endorses "the 2nd Amendment and the right to bear arms."

Can it be? Is Kos a ... triangulator? ... Purge him immediately!3:57 A.M. link

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Can a cheap headline featuring hot-button words "Kos" and "Coulter" goose a blogger's hit count? The stats are in and the answer is ... unfortunately ... yes. ... P.S.: But the hed does refer to an actual item, which is here. 11:55 A.M.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Kos mocks Sen. Lieberman for naming his ad hoc independent party "Connecticut for Lieberman:"

It's still about him. It's always about him.

Hmm. What's the name of Kos's site again? Daily Netroots? Daily People Power? ... [Stolen from reader C.] 5:39 P.M.

The Atlantic'seditors have hit on a way to make you hate them: Blogging to let you know what a challenging, "thought-provoking" time they're having at the Aspen Ideas Festival listening to E.O. Wilson, Alan Greenspan, Bill Clinton and Karl Rove, among others:

At 6.30am we glided out of Aspen in a fleet of silent shining limos (furnished by Lexus, one of the meeting's sponsors: I could get used to it).

12:22 P.M.

Move over, Echelon: The ultra-secret, discussion-muffling liberal "Townhouse" group revealed here. 9:15 A.M.

This Land is Their Land:

"The Hispanic world did not come to the United States," Carlos Fuentes observes. "The United States came to the Hispanic world. It is perhaps an act of poetic justice that now the Hispanic world should return." -- from Tony Horwitz, "Immigration--and the Curse of the Black Legend," NYT, July 9, 2006

I don't understand the argument behind Horwitz's Sunday NYT op-ed essay. Sure, the immigration debate should be informed by "a full awareness of the history of the 500-year Spanish presence in the Americas and its seesawing fortunes in the face of Anglo encroachment." But which way does that awareness cut? The Spaniards were here first, Horwitz tells us. "From  1819 to 1848, the United States and its army increased the nation's area by roughly a third at Spanish and Mexican expense, including three of today's four most populous states: California, Texas and Florida." OK. But doesn't that make Mexican and other Spanish-speaking immigrants profoundly different from previous immigrants. Unlike other immigrants--Italians or Irish or Koreans--they do not necessarily think they are in a foreign land (as the ubiquitous "I am in my HOMELAND" signs at the pro-immigrant marchas try to tell us). Unlike other immigrants, Latinos have a powerful rationale for challenging, at the very least, the current common language. Do we want a common language or not? At the extreme, they have non-crazy grounds for challenging the very constitution of the U.S. within its current borders. Their land was taken by a bunch of Anglo racists!

Current pro-legalization dogma assures us that there is no reason to worry about of Quebec style separatism or Kosovo-style irredentism in the Southwest. Horwitz shows why there are plenty of reasons to worry. The stronger the prior Spanish claim the worse the danger--and the more reason to get control of the border, and of the cultural composition of the next generation of immigrants, before it's too late. Fuentes easy invocation of "poetic justice" isn't shaming so much as chilling. We want immigrants who come for freedom and prosperity, not "poetic justice," no?

Then there's Horwitz's last line:

It's an homage to our history, not a betrayal of it, to welcome the latest arrivals, just as the Indians did those tardy and uninvited Pilgrims who arrived in Plymouth not so long ago.

The Indians were laudably welcoming. How'd that work out for them?12:29 A.M. link

Sunday, July 9, 2006

"Don't Cross the 'Cult of Kos'": Progressive Democrat Richard of Tikun Olam posted a diary on DailyKos suggesting that "there is a conflict of interest in accepting money from a campaign which you endorse in your blog"--and he was welcomed by the free-spirited Kos community for starting a lively, insightful debate about the issue! ... Wait. Sorry.  That's actually not what happened. He was maliciously "tagged"! Labeled a "concern troll"" "[E]ssentially 'disappeared'"! And a comment of his was deleted. Richard says:

My treatment made me feel more like I was participating in a cult in which I'd insulted the chief leader and was receiving the deep six treatment in response.

He's been led "to understand some of the criticism of Kos and his site flung at him by his critics." .... All this, he says, despite "what I thought was the nuance I tried to add to my post."  ...  [Thanks to   D.R.]2:16 A.M.

When was the last time you read a good, juicy item on the New York Post'sPage Six? Bet it's been a while! Ron Burkle's sting may have done more damage than it seemed like at the time. Either a) the Post has now gotten cautious; or b) people have stopped doing embarrassing things or c) they never did do the embarrassing things that the Post reported and the Post has now stopped reporting these things that didn't happen, which may be the same as (a)--or d) Jared Paul Stern was a more essential employee than we were led to believe, which may be the same as (c) ...  1:10 A.M.

Saturday, July 8, 2006

Kabuki Watch: According to DailyPundit, Sen. Santorum has introduced a weak, let's-show-them-we-did-something enforcement-only immigration billDP fears a one-two punch:

[P]assing the bill would give the impression that Congress has done what it needs to do to secure the borders. Then "our" representatives would be free to get on with codifying amnesty plus practically unlimited levels of legal migration.

I suspect the pro-legalization forces have vastly underestimated the symbolic ability of fences and walls--especially real, as opposed to "virtual" fences and walls--to placate the Tancredo anti-illegal faction. Santorum proposes only the "virtual" kind of fence, but smart McCain-Bush-Kennedy conspirators could always make agreeing to the "actual" kind seem like a dramatic concession.

Wall + Semi-Amnesty

would seem to be the one-two punch opponents of legalization should worry about. 4:27 P.M.

Kos Defends _______! Steve Smith:

It seems Jerome Armstrong has a new client....

P.S.:  Kos' post could also show that he has a mind of his own. (It's everyone else who needs to toe the line!) ...

P.P.S.: Since Kos is more influential than mere Senators and Congressmen, I guess this controversy is settled. ... [Note to Andrew Sullivan: Yes, you have to click on the links to understand what the hell this item is about. Sorry for the inconvenience!]  2:26 P.M. link

Hotelling in Mexico: Not a Travel Guide! Instapundit says it's "kind of odd" that Mexico would split 50/50 right after the U.S. split 50/50. No it's not! ... 12:59 P.M.

82_horizontal_rule

Bloggingheads--Bob Wright's videoblog project. Gearbox--Searching for the Semi-Orgasmic Lock-in. Drudge Report--80 % true. Close enough! Instapundit--All-powerful hit king. Joshua Marshall--He reports! And decides!  Wonkette--Makes Jack Shafer feel guilty.  Salon--Survives! kf gloating on hold. Andrew Sullivan--He asks, he tells. He sells! David Corn--Trustworthy reporting from the left.  Washington Monthly--Includes Charlie Peters' proto-blog. Lucianne.com--Stirs the drink. Virginia Postrel--Friend of the future! Peggy Noonan--Gold in every column. Matt Miller--Savvy rad-centrism. WaPo--Waking from post-Bradlee snooze. Keller's Calmer Times--Registration required.  NY Observer--Read it before the good writers are all hired away. New Republic--Left on welfare, right on warfare!  Jim Pinkerton--Quality ideas come from quantity ideas. Tom Tomorrow--Everyone's favorite leftish cartoonists' blog.  Ann "Too Far" Coulter--Sometimes it's just far enough. Bull Moose--National Greatness Central. John Ellis--Forget that Florida business! The cuz knows politics, and he has, ah, sources. "The Note"--How the pros start their day. Romenesko--O.K. they actually start it here. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities--Money Liberal Central. Steve Chapman--Ornery-but-lovable libertarian. Rich Galen--Sophisticated GOP insider. Man Without Qualities--Seems to know a lot about white collar crime. Hmmm. Overlawyered.com--Daily horror stories. Eugene Volokh--Smart, packin' prof, and not Instapundit! Eve Tushnet--Queer, Catholic, conservative and not Andrew Sullivan! WSJ's Best of the Web--James Taranto's excellent obsessions. Walter Shapiro--Politics and (don't laugh) neoliberal humor! Eric Alterman--Born to blog. Joe Conason--Bush-bashing, free most days. Lloyd Grove--Don't let him write about you. Arianna's Huffosphere--Now a whole fleet of hybrid vehicles. TomPaine.com--Web-lib populists. Take on the News--TomPaine's blog.  B-Log--Blog of spirituality!  Hit & Run--Reason gone wild! Daniel Weintraub--Beeblogger and Davis Recall Central. Eduwonk--You'll never have to read another mind-numbing education story again. Nonzero--Bob Wright explains it all. John Leo--If you've got political correctness, he's got a column ... [More tk]

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