Archive for April, 2007

Tenets of Criticism

Monday, April 30th, 2007

Why are we hearing from him now? If George Tenet did not have the intelligence claimed by the Administration, he should have been a little more forceful. Like when it would have made a difference. Here we are, four years after the fall of Baghdad, and now Tenet comes forward? That just strikes me as opportunistic. If he was so sure the Bush Administration was wrong, maybe he shouldn’t have accepted a medal from said administration.

Uh Oh

Monday, April 30th, 2007

The Obama surge is continuing:

For the first time in the Election 2008 season, somebody other than New York Senator Hillary Clinton is on top in the race for the Democratic Presidential nomination.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows Illinois Senator Barack Obama with a statistically insignificant two point advantage over the former First Lady. It’s Obama 32% Clinton 30%. Former North Carolina Senator John Edwards remains in third with support holding steady at 17%. No other candidate tops 3%. The survey was conducted April 23-26, 2007 meaning that the overwhelming majority of the interviews were completed before last Thursday’s debate in South Carolina. The impact of the debate will be measured in polling conducted this week.

Of secondary importance is the fact that Clinton, Obama, and Edwards have seemingly solidified themselves as the “Big Three” of the Democratic side, but the big news is that Barrack Obama is now in a statistically insignificant lead. I still think there’s a good chance that Obama will run out of steam before the primaries are held, but I’m not quite as sure as I once was. The Clinton camp will soon be forced to employ some, shall we say, less than nice tactics. The Democratic primary race should get interesting.


“Why Are They Doing This?”

Monday, April 30th, 2007

That is the question being asked by Iraqi blogger Omar Fadhil:

Instead coming up with ideas to help the US Democrats are trying to stop the effort to stabilize Iraq and rescue the Middle East from a catastrophe.

I am an Iraqi. To me the possible consequences of this vote are terrifying. Just as we began to see signs of progress in my country the Democrats come and say, ‘Well, it’s not worth it.Time to leave’.

To the Democrats my life and the lives of twenty-five other million Iraqis are evidently not worth trying for. They shouldn’t expect us to be grateful for this.

One of the absolute worst arguments I’ve heard for a timetable is that it will “put the Iraqis on notice” and somehow light a fire under them, forcing them to take the situation seriously. But dozens of Iraqis are being murdered everyday by terrorists. They are already “on notice”; a timetable isn’t going to help the situation.

Protest for Secularism in Turkey

Monday, April 30th, 2007

More reason for optimism in the Middle East (although the “powerful generals” part might be a little concerning):

The possibility of an observant Muslim president is pitting Turkey’s deeply secular military and civilian establishment against its religiously oriented ruling party in a fundamental struggle over national identity.

At least 700,000 people marched against Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul’s candidacy in Istanbul Sunday, waving the red national flag and invoking Turkey’s long secular tradition. Powerful generals hinted they may step in to resolve the deadlock over Gul in parliament, which elects the president. And many Turks are calling for early elections in the hope of replacing the parliament, which is dominated by Gul’s pro-Islamic party.

“Beware the Tennessee Twosome”

Monday, April 30th, 2007

So says Peter Brown.

How Not to Make the Case

Monday, April 30th, 2007

You know, if you’re a group whose critics are already apt to hurl accusations of racism your way, publishing a letter from a South African mourning the fall of the Apartheid regime might not be the best way to make your case. Just a thought.

A Rudy Flip Flop?

Saturday, April 28th, 2007

Sure sounds like it. Rudy Giuliani is now opposed to civil unions:

Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani’s campaign told The New York Sun on Thursday that the former New York City mayor opposes a New Hampshire law that will legalize civil unions between homosexual couples because it “goes too far.”

“In this specific case the law states same sex civil unions are the equivalent of marriage and recognizes same sex unions from outside states. This goes too far and Mayor Giuliani does not support it,” the campaign said in a statement sent to the Sun.

The newspaper calls that “a startling departure from his previously stated position on civil unions.”

As someone who generally likes Rudy, I can’t figure out what his rationale is in taking such a position. I guess he’s trying to assuage concerns from conservative Christians, but it seems to me that he’ll do more to alienate moderates and fiscal conservatives than any gains he’ll make among conservative Christians. And his appeal with them is going to be limited due to his pro-choice position on abortion.

Rudy is a smart guy, but this isn’t a smart move on his part.

Blog Explosion Halts

Friday, April 27th, 2007

You know how we’ve been hearing about the rapid expansion of the blogosphere? Well, it appears it might have come to an end:

The number of active blogs tracked by Technorati has stalled at about 15 million. Now that’s still a remarkable number, even before one adds in quasi-blogs, such as pages on social network sites such as Myspace. But, compared with the conventional wisdom — that every human, and household pet, will eventually have a blog — the reality is sobering.

My theory? There is a limit to how much the blogosphere will actually grow. Oh sure, in theory, everyone could have their own blog, but in reality this will never happen. Not everyone, indeed, not even a majority of people care enough to start their other blogs. Others will start a blog, but quickly abandon it. Thus, it stands to reason that at some point, the blogosphere will reacha peak and stabilize in numbers.

Yet, 15 million is still an amazing number. Lack of growth doesn’t mean an end in influence. It simply means that those who do blog will likely be more committed to it. Even if the growth halts, there are enough blogs out there than anyone can find his or own niche. And, if not, he or she can still create his own.

Via Andrew Sullivan.

Bridging the Transatlantic Divide

Friday, April 27th, 2007

Americans and the French finally agree on something:

The survey of six nations, carried out for the International Herald Tribune daily and France 24 TV station, said 44 percent of French people thought badly of themselves against 38 percent of U.S. respondents who had a negative view of the French.

Kissing a Crime?

Friday, April 27th, 2007

In India, it might be:

An Indian court issued arrest warrants for Hollywood actor Richard Gere and Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty on Thursday for kissing at a public function, according to media reports.

For those who haven’t been following, Richard Gere kissed Indian actress Shilpa Shetty at an AIDS awareness function. In India, public displays of affection tend to be taboo, especially in rural areas which tend to be highly traditional and conservative. In such areas, kissing in public may violate obscenity laws. Thus Gere and Shetty’s kiss is quite the no-no.

It certainly seems to me that we’re seeing some bad behavior all around. Gere should have known better, especially since he’s a “frequent” visitor to India (in the video, Shetty does not appear a willing participant). But it also sounds as though a small town judge might also be trying to get some publicity about the deal. And some traditionalist political leaders are getting to rile up their followers. In the end, though, not much will really come of this.

In case you haven’t seen her, below are some pictures of Ms. Shetty. Gere might spend some time in jail for kissing her. Does anything think maybe it would be worth it?

UPDATE: Alex Knapp likens this situation to an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation.