Archive

  • THE IRAN OVERTURE....

    THE IRAN OVERTURE. Yesterday, Kevin Drum mentioned a Washington Post article recounting the contents of a secret 2003 letter to the United States from Iranian officials putting a huge slew of issues on the table for direct negotiation (nukes, recognition of Israel, etc.). Drum notes that the Post buried the article. I'll just note, again, that if anyone hasn't yet read Gareth Porter 's comprehensive feature story in the June Prospect , "Burnt Offering" -- Porter, like the Post , got his hands on a copy of the actual 2003 letter -- they really, really should. --Sam Rosenfeld
  • CLASSLESS. Nobody admires...

    CLASSLESS. Nobody admires Markos Moulitsas more than I do for breaking new ground, and for unleashing as much political energy as he has during an apathetic age. But linking to the unspeakable Wonkette's photos of Brian Bilbray 's kids at a party is a cheap shot unworthy of his site. (I'm linking neither to Kos nor to his source material. Find it yourself, if you suddenly find yourself lacking any class whatsoever.) Bilbray's spent his entire career as a wholly owned subsidiary. He's fair game. But his 19-year-old daughter has a right to as unruly a social life as, say, I had without having the photographic proof spread all over the Internets. Absent a criminal charge, a politician's kid should be out of bounds. I have no use for Wonkette under either its old or new management, but Kos should be better than this. -- Charles P. Pierce
  • GET IN LINE....

    GET IN LINE. Shadi Hamid is appalled by Zaid Shakir 's declaration that all "honest" Muslims would hope the United States becomes an Islamic nation, "not by violent means, but by persuasion." Hamid says "it is incumbent upon moderate Muslims who believe in freedom, democracy, and the US constitution to repudiate such remarks." But why? This is hardly an exceptional position in public life. Evangelical Christianity is a potent political force, and it's rather straightforwardly interested in widespread conversion. As it should be. If you truly believe those outside your group are sacrificing their relationship with the divine and set to roast in hell for an eternity, of course you'd want to convince your neighbors. And since the Koran makes basically similar claims, Shakir's hopes strikes me as rather predictable. Now, he possibly should have kept them to himself as a matter of political expediency, but given the widespread acceptance of fundamentalist Christianity, I see little out of...
  • GOREWATCH. A...

    GOREWATCH . A few weeks ago, a friend suggested that the way to really put Gore in a bind would be to ask him who he supported in the Lamont / Lieberman race. Well, it looks like Bloomberg TV did exactly that, and Gore refused to take a side. Joe's "a great guy," said Gore, "and he's right on a lot of other issues." Of course, when you've recently become a progressive hero and your former running mate is getting toasted by the left, a non-endorsement is neutrality in name only. --Ezra Klein
  • SAVE AMERICA: BAN...

    SAVE AMERICA: BAN FLUFF. And here I was earlier this morning complaining that there's nothing worth blogging about when Jacob Sullum comes to the rescue : A Massachusetts legislator, allegedly representing the very district where Fluff was invented, wants to ban the stuff from public school cafeterias. "A Fluff sandwich as the main course of a nutritious lunch just doesn't fly in 2006," said state Sen. Jarrett T. Barrios, who was outraged when his son, a third-grader, requested Fluff at home. "It seems a little silly to have an amendment on Fluff, but it's called for by the silliness of schools offering this as a healthy alternative in the first place." Barrios did not explain the nutritional advantages of jelly. As people may recall from my turn as Josh Marshall 's understudy, I don't like peanut butter , and peanut butter detractors throughout the nation have long felt oppressed by America's love affair with the stuff. The fluffernutter sandwich was one of the banes of my existence...
  • LIKE RATS FROM...

    LIKE RATS FROM A SINKING SHIP, CONT'D. Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick is resigning to take a position at Goldman-Sachs. Formerly the administration's trade representative, Zoellick was one of the crew's rare grown-ups, and there was much rejoicing with he got the job at State over the expected hire, John Bolton . You've heard quite a bit about the President's rebound over the last few weeks. The hiring of Henry Paulson , the non-indictment of Karl Rove , the death of Zarqawi . Of similar importance to the administration, though, is the slow leak of its most talented members: top speechwriter Michael Gerson last week, top China hand Zoellick this week. This doesn't look like any rebound I've ever seen. --Ezra Klein
  • AND THE MONEY...

    AND THE MONEY GOES MARCHING ON AND ON, HUZZAH, HUZZAH? There�s an interesting bit of political entrail reading from The Wall Street Journal , which notes that Big Business, beginning to feel a little shaky over prospects of a Democratic resurgence, is funding donkey candidates at a level not seen since Dick Gephardt was majority leader. According to the article, "[t]he Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has, so far in this election cycle, raised more than its Republican counterpart for the first time since Democrats lost control of Congress in the 1994 election. In the House, Republicans have raised more money than the Democratic campaign arm, but the gap is narrower than in previous campaigns. "Democrats are realizing the importance of working closely with business leaders," says Sen. Charles Schumer of New York, the top fund-raiser for Senate Democrats." How charming. Before 1994, the corporate world split its contributions basically evenly between the majority-holding...
  • THE DEVIL READS...

    THE DEVIL READS TAP . Dig the plug for our fair magazine in the opening graf of this New York Times article on the new movie version of The Devil Wears Prada . The concerned father described in the piece seems to be operating under a couple of notable misimpressions about relative status and prestige in the journalism business, but it's probably best not to discuss those too explicitly here on the The American Prospect 's website. --Sam Rosenfeld
  • JUST POSTED ON...

    JUST POSTED ON TAP: HARD LABOR. Harold Meyerson notes in our July/August issue that the Change to Win leaders had big plans last year when they left the AFL-CIO to do more organizing. The resolve is there -- but so are all the usual impediments. --The Editors
  • MOTIVATIONISM. Picking up...

    MOTIVATIONISM. Picking up on Greg Sargent 's latest post on the media, let me note that there's something rather illogical about the habit of dismissing media criticism from progressive blogs or, say, Media Matters on the grounds that it's "partisan" in its motivations. After all, what's motive got to do with it? If The New York Times were to, say, slander a new car from Toyota as unsafe when it was, in fact, quite safe, one assumes the Times would hear about it from someone at Toyota. Toyota's interest in the matter would, of course, be the corporate bottom line rather than an abstract concern for journalism. But, still, you'd have a car, its actual safety record, a Times article, and what the article says about the car's safety record. If the article was wrong or unfair, that's a problem. If a Toyota PR guy points out the problem, you don't question his motives, you fix the problem. Of course, if the Toyota PR guy complains about negative coverage that actually was fair and accurate...

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