Attention, Robert "Red Meat" Novak. ... 12:08 A.M.
Wednesday, May 9, 2007
"Is [Harry] Reid Trying to Kill Immigration Reform?" RealClearPolitics seems excessively distressed by this possibility. ... Alternative theory: Pro "comprehensive" Senators, unable to actually come up with the "grand bargain" they have promised, would like it to look like Harry Reid killed immigration reform--hence their claim that he isn't giving them enough time. ... I Smell Kabuki! Except that it seems a bit early for everyone to merely be trying to stage-manage the bill's death so as to avoid blame for the killing. It's also possible that under the spur of Reid's deadline the Senate will actually pass a bill, no? Opponents should be alert for last-minute miracle "compromise" scams, like the "trigger" gimmick debunked by Mark Krikorian here. ... The name of a recent Feist album comes to mind! ... 4:26 P.M. link
Possibly bad idea of the day: I got a ticket a couple of years ago for failing to come to a complete stop at a stop sign. I was so guilty. Ever since then--and after I was admonished by a cop I met at a party--I've tried to come to a total, 100% stop, with the weight of the car falling back on its haunches, before stepping on the accelerator to get moving again. When I do this I can hear and actually feel the engine sucking in vast quantities of precious refined petroleum to overcome the inertia of 3400 pounds of metal at a dead rest. Which leads to the thought: Wouldn't we save a lot of gasoline quickly and cheaply if we replaced most of our "STOP" signs with "YIELD" signs? I'm sure there is a safety argument against this, but I'd like to hear it, along with up-to-date comparisons with countries that rely on "yield" more than "stop." ... N.B.: a) You could still require that everyone slow down to under, say, 10 miles per hour. It's the first 10 miles per hour starting back up that seem so gratuitously wasteful. (Maybe "YIELD" is the wrong sign. Maybe it should say "SLOW to 10.") b) Traditionalist drivers--e.g. geezers--could still come to a complete stop and retain the right of way. c) Policemen could still raise revenue for their employers by giving lots of tickets--they would just be tickets for "failure to slow" or "failure to yield." ... 3:51 P.M. link
Tuesday, May 8, 2007
Bloggingheads' Baghdad Bureau files a video report on the surge that's compelling in its immediacy! ... It's relatively upbeat--embedded blogginghead Eli Lake is obviously impressed with the efforts of American soldiers--but if you listen carefully you get a more complicated picture:
a) Lake makes it clear it ain't going to be over by September. "This is going to be a mission that will take several years, if not decades."
b) Our troops must always be on the alert for possible betrayal by the Iraqi Army soldiers they work with--not because the Iraqis are secretly terrorists but because they are susceptible to bribery, threats, or sectarian or religious appeals;
c) Some neighborhoods are vastly improved (Haifa Street) while others deteriorate and will need more attention;
d) opinion among our troops as to whether the war is winnable is "mixed," according to Lake ... If we left now, he says, the Iraqi Army couldn't possibly withstand the onslaught of corrupting bribes and threats from the insurgents and terrorists. ...
Lake tells a revealing absurdist story about how difficult it was to release 79 innocent people captured in a truck once the Iraqi political and media machinery had broadcast the anti-terrorist "win." ... He casts doubt on the common view that the majority of Iraqis want us to leave. He also gives the not uncommon impression that for all its flaws the Iraqi Army is further along than the Iraqi political structure--which of course leads me to worry whether in the end security may be achieved by an Army-run government. ... Lake also puts a very impressive U.S. major on camera, forcing egghead Bob Wright to bridge the civilian-military divide. Luckily, Wright is an ex-Army brat. ... At the close, Lake promises to report from a sector where the Americans have decided to cooperate with "Al Qaeda." Either he misspoke or we are in for an interesting future report. ... 11:20 P.M.
Blogging Against Type: An argument that the rise in wealth inequality has been accompanied by
a drop in consumptive inequality, and a significant convergence in the experiences of the rich and, if not the poor, the middle
from, yes, Ezra Klein. Apologist for Bush's New Gilded Age! The cocktail party invite is in the mail. ... My anecdotal sense parallel's Klein's--with the exception that all the good $45/person once-a-week restaurants on my side of L.A. seem overnight to have become $65/person restaurants, and I can't really afford them anymore. It's as if they suddenly realized they could survive on the business of the rich, and don't need the middle. ... Worst possibility: The rich will pay extra precisely to have the middle excluded. I don't think that's what is going on at, say, Chaya Venice. But I may have to go back to do some now-tax-deductible field research. ... 6:11 P.M. link