July 30 The days’ catch

July 31, 2007 § Leave a comment

    The day’s catch

NOT SO FAST… – The Boston Globe


They’ve got the money, the momentum, and what looks like history on their side. But a Democratic victory in 2008 is no sure thing.

By David Greenberg  

Such a strategy may help win the party’s nomination. But in the fall of 2008, with war, terrorism, and national security still looming as critical issues, the burden will be on the Democratic nominee to prove that he or she will offer stronger leadership than a Republican — especially a Republican who isn’t George W. Bush.

Votescam: Comment: The New Yorker


by Hendrik Hertzberg August 6, 2007

California Initiative No. 07-0032 is an audacious power play packaged as a step forward for democratic fairness. It’s the lotusland equivalent of Tom DeLay’s 2003 midterm redistricting in Texas, except with a sweeter smell, a better disguise, and larger stakes. And the only way Californians will reject it is if they have a chance to think about it first

Polls and Polling – Iraq – U.S. Invasion – New York Times


A Polling Mystery


THE war in Iraq is the single most important continuing news issue right now

The Times and CBS News conducted a poll from July 9 to July 17

Forty-two percent of those polled said the United States did the right thing, and 54 percent said the United States should have stayed out of Iraq. The last time the question was asked, in May, 35 percent said taking military action against Iraq was the right thing and 61 percent said the United States should have stayed out.

The July numbers represented a change. It was counterintuitive. None of the other war-related questions showed change. Mr. Bush’s approval rating had not changed. Nor had approval of his handling of Iraq. The level of support for Mr. Bush’s decision to send more troops to Iraq — the “surge” — was about the same as it had been in past polls. Support for the decision to go to war had risen modestly and nothing else in the poll could explain it.

Polls and Polling – Iraq – U.S. Invasion – New York Times

There was also a drop in the number of people who said the war was going badly. In the latest poll, 66 percent of Americans said things were going badly for the United States in its efforts to bring stability and order to Iraq. That is down from 76 percent who said the same thing in May

 My guess is that the pain of withdrawal begins to dawn. Same Old Question, Different Answer. Hmmm.

The least bad plan for leaving Iraq. – By Fred Kaplan – Slate Magazine


Note created July 30, 2007

Defeat Without DisasterThe least bad plan for leaving Iraq.

By Fred Kaplan

Peter Galbraith’s article in the current New York Review of Books, “Iraq: The Way to Go,” is one of the most bracing essays written on the subject lately

“The Iraq war is lost,” Galbraith starkly declares in his new article. “Defeat,” he continues, “is defined by America’s failure to accomplish its objective of a self-sustaining, democratic, and unified Iraq. And that failure has already taken place.”

He has now abandoned his plan for a partitioned federation, regarding the southern two-thirds of Iraq—the areas dominated by Shiite and Sunni Arabs—as hopeless. Instead, he calls for withdrawing U.S. troops from those areas and redeploying some of them to the northern sector, in order to protect the Kurds.

It’s extremely discomfiting to abet ethnic segregation—but less so when the alternative might open the gates to mass murder.

DC:  Is there a regional conference that could use larger sphere money (Japan, China, India Russia)to create real hope in the Iraq people have come to know? Think of the original good will on the part of many towards a liberation that never came. Money and international legitimacy, and a regional conference for yet more legitimacy, seems more humane.

Iraq – Exit Strategy – Washington – Military Forces – New York Times


Note created July 30, 2007

How Fast Can the Troops Leave?

Can Departing Soldiers Be Shielded From Attack?

What to Take? What to Leave? What to Destroy?

With individual missiles costing $100,000 or more and armored Humvees about $380,000, the staggering value of materiél demands a longer, more complete withdrawal, Mr. Cordesman said. “You can leave an awful lot of things behind. But that borders on the insane.”

How Long to Repair and Ship Vital Equipment?

Who Stays Behind?

There are up to 100,000 Iraqi contractors, perhaps more, working for the United States. After a pullout, many of them could be at risk from reprisals by anti-American forces.

DC: obvious, but a good list. The numbers are staggering. And the costs to be incurred.

Bush’s folly – Los Angeles Times


His fixation on Al Qaeda’s role in Iraq reveals the shallowness of his thinking — and of the U.S. strategy on fighting terrorism.

Bush repeated his tendentious trope: “A key lesson of September the 11th is that the best way to protect America is to go on the offense, to fight the terrorists overseas so we don’t have to face them here at home.” This led directly to the unstated conclusion that the United States must stay in Iraq for as long as it takes to conquer evil. The speech leaves little doubt that the president intends to keep fighting in Iraq until Jan. 20, 2009 — if Congress will let him.

So here are the real questions, Mr. President: How do we degrade Al Qaeda’s ability to replace the leaders we manage to kill? How do we dry up its source of recruits? Who can convince young radicals that killing themselves and scores of innocents won’t serve Islam or improve Muslim life in Iraq, the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories, New York or anywhere else? What political, social and religious progress, what kind of education, what kind of economic development will weaken the appeal of the fanatical Islamist message?

Not until an American president gives the world meaningful answers to these questions can we have a “global war on terrorism” worthy of the name

 OK. Are the Democrats on track to do this?

Project Syndicate


Iraq: More than an American Problem

Richard N. Haass

The rest of the world also has a stake in how the US emerges from Iraq. There is a real danger that a widely-perceived failure in Iraq could lead to a serious weakening of American domestic political support for an active international role, particularly difficult but necessary deployments of military force.

The alternative to a world shaped by a strong, confident, and engaged US is not likely to be a world that is peaceful, prosperous, and free. In strategic terms, no other country or group of countries has the capacity to replace the US. The alternative to a US-led global order is disorder, in which terrorism, nuclear proliferation, and economic protectionism are increasingly the norm.

The reality is that Iraq’s future is not assured even if these and similar measures are taken. Still, there is a big difference between an Iraq that struggles and one that implodes; between an Iraq that contributes to global energy security rather than undermining it; between a civil war and a regional war. It may be too late for the US to succeed in Iraq, but it is not too late for others to increase the odds that the US does not fail.

Richard N. Haass is President of the Council on Foreign Relations and author of The Opportunity: America’s Moment to Alter History’s Course.

DC: Seems to me very weak. Correct as far as it goes, but his earlier point that the world is taking some pleasure in US failure means it will not act to make the US look better. To get there the US must apologize, which it won’t do.

FT.com / Books / Non-Fiction – Gherkins and turnips


Review By Edwin Heathcote

Published: July 28 2007 01:15 | Last updated: July 28 2007 01:15

New York 2000 should be one of the dullest architecture books available. It covers the period between 1980 and 2000, a time that was the undisputed nadir in the history of a city that has otherwise defined itself through its gorgeously attenuated architecture. It was the period of corporate glass boxes – the moment when business found the formula for extruding architecture to create maximum floorspace for minimum art

 To the core. yes.

In fact, it is New York 2000 that is brilliant – the most engrossing, comprehensive and thoughtful book on architecture I have read in a long while. This monumental fifth instalment in a series that has covered New York’s architecture since 1880 is made up of essays that look at general themes as well as each region of the city. It is an astonishing achievement, neither guide nor coffee-table book, but rather a cocktail of social and architectural history, of the movement of capital and fashion, local politics and global aesthetics.

My Pornography


Ann Patchett talks about writing, friendship, and defending her work against censorious detractors.

If stories about girls who are disfigured by cancer, humiliated by strangers, and turn to sex and drugs to escape from their enormous pain are too disgusting, too pornographic, then I have to tell you, friends, the Holocaust is off-limits. The Russian Revolution, the killing fields of Cambodia, the war in Vietnam, the Crusades, all represent such staggering acts of human depravity and perversion that I could see the virtue of never looking at them at all.

Absolutely not. My experience at Clemson was so much about me catching up with what was going on. And while I shouldn’t have been blindsided by what happened there—as it had been clearly laid out for me well in advance—I just never thought things were going to be as bad as they were

As the crow flies | By genre | Guardian Unlimited Books


Andrew Motion finds poetry in Crow Country, Mark Cocker’s attempt to rehabilitate one of nature’s most maligned birds

Why the sudden surge of interest? It’s partly a response to our increasingly urbanised lives: wings over a city, let alone across the countryside, remind us of ancient freedoms and connections.

Cocker’s title suggests a narrow beam of attention. In fact his book has interesting things to say about all seven breeding representatives of the corvid family that exist in Britain, and celebrates rooks in particular. His opening chapter lets us understand why. Watching “a long ellipse” of several thousand rooks and jackdaws head for their evening roost, he is lifted into ecstatic delight – entranced not just by the mass of the birds themselves, but by their power to “act like ink-blot tests drawing images out of [his] unconscious”. In other words, the flocks plunge him deeply into himself while seeming marvellously other than himself, compelling him to ask questions about how language can contain a sight so amazing, and also to wonder how the birds articulate elements in his deep un- or sub-conscious.

He quotes Thomas Browne and Andrew Young, John Clare and Edward Thomas – a small anthology, in fact, of kindred spirits. Puzzlingly, there’s no mention of Ted Hughes, whose Crow poems feed so greedily – and famously – on the violent mythic associations of the birds.

DC: Well, I like to see more GardenWorld relevant books.

How newspapers can thrive on the World Wide Web


Commentary: An online journalism pioneer examines the state of the industry through the example of his hometown Florida newspapers.

the most recoginizable media brands in their communities, and should be able to translate that brand recognition into local online information dominance. Here’s how they can do it.

DC:  ah, so go local! Who does the big stories?

NewsWire | The Agonist


Nowhere has this flat tax caught on more swiftly than in Central and Eastern Europe, where nine of world’s 13 countries to have adopted the system are located. It’s a reform movement that started in 1994 with Estonia, gained momentum when Russia saw a 25-percent increase in state revenue from personal income tax after implementing a 13-percent flat tax in 2001, and culminated with Slovakia’s much-lauded adoption of a single 19-percent rate on income, corporate, and valued added tax

Doesn’t seem progressive. In fact each taxes more or less the same thing, and he rae is high. There has to be oher cutnerbalancing elements to keep from run-away concentration of wealth, gien he effeciency of the modern info based corpoation to do so. 

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