• Iran and the Bomb

    Looks like the EU's talks with Iran are failing in a big way, with the Islamic Republic threatening to stalk off and restart uranium enrichment a bit later this week. The article's a bit vague on what's killing them -- likely as not, that information simply isn't known -- but my guess is that there's simply not a lot the EU can offer Iran that they're not already giving them. It's really a tough spot for those trying to stall Iran's weapon programs. Europe, theoretically, could apply serious sanctions and really pressure Iran into sitting at the table and hammering out a deal. But they won't. Worse, Iran's long-term trade prospects are brighter than their short-term ones, as their huge stores of natural gas (Iran and Russia have the most natural gas in the world, more than half the known total) are going to be in demand no matter how much of a pariah we judge them. China and India, frankly, don't much care how we feel towards Iran. As far as the options go, this may mean that, pace...
  • Press Conference

    I was playing video games, so I just got the James Joyner recap . What'd you guys think?
  • Newspapers Remain

    Derek Rose is right , by the way. Blogs will never replace newspapers*. Newspapers will never give up wood pulp for megabits. My girlfriend is in a serious relationship with a blogger**, reads a fair number of other sites, and gets the paper's headlines in her inbox every day. And despite all that, she'll never give up the paper version. Nor would I. Nor would anyone I know. Tangible reading materials have a comfort, convenience, and charm all their own, and the simple existence of an alternative won't change that. Will there be more integration between print and the web? Sure 'nuff. But the hysterical, off-the-cuff eulogies Jeff Jarvis is always providing for print media are nothing more than the ravings of a technoguru. Radio's still around, TV's hanging out, books are still printed, and the net's not gonna change all that. It may force some adaptation, but not change. * And none of this even addresses how dependent blogs are on newspapers. Without them we'd have nothing to report...
  • Parental Notification

    Great post by Matt on parental notification laws. Like Kevin Drum, who he's responding to, I had mixed feelings on the issue, but then my girlfriend unmixed them using almost exactly the same line of reasoning Matt utilizes here. So go get demixed .
  • Quiet Liberals

    I think Kevin Drum gets it mostly right on the Michael Walzer piece : To a large extent, despite the triumphalism of the right, liberalism has won most of the big debates in this country. Sure, we've only gotten 80% or 90% of what we set out to get half a century ago, but it's hard to bring a lot of passion to the fight for the final 10 or 20%. The reason liberalism seems lackluster these days is that with the exception of the radical left, which is mostly ignored, garden variety liberals don't have all that much to complain about. That's true, at least on an ideological level (I hasten to confine it to issues of ideology because, as the blogs prove, us garden variety liberals have found plenty to complain about). But I think we're dealing with a second dynamic here, which is that we're no longer allowed to complain, our real complaints aren't viable in political discourse. Increased government control and involvement in private life is, to a large degree, off-limits in the public...
  • Who You Calling a Tax-and-Spend Liberal?

    Commenting on the British elections, Sullivan writes: I also fear that the battering of Blair means a future Brown government will keep increasing spending and so hamper Britain's post-Thatcher renaissance. I'd happily vote Tory this time on those grounds alone. Of course, no one on the Labour left in Britain is proposing the kind of government spending that Bush Republicans are engaged in. In that sense, Bush is far to the fiscal left of anyone in current British politics. What an irony. We used to think that even British Tories were more liberal than America's Democrats. But Bush's and DeLay's massive spending and borrowing makes Blair look like a born-again Thatcherite. Wha? C'mon now, Andy must be aware that liberalism is about more than some deep-seated affinity for borrowing-and-spending. No one reading my blog could mistake my politics for anything but those of a lefty, and yet even I don't spend my nights scheming out how to drain America's coffers through some devious...
  • Whoa

    Ahmad Chalabi's going to be Iraq's oil minister? You kidding me?
  • The Glory of the Feebate

    Sigh. The Weekly Standard is right . The gas tax is actually a bad idea. I've advocated for it in the past, and many have done the same recently, but it's a poor way to deal with the energy crisis. The gas tax fails because it penalizes folks for conditions outside their control. We generally imagine the tax as nailing those morons peering down from Hummers, but most of the affluent, insecure drivers who're purchasing a tank for their morning commute do so fully aware that the gas bill will sting. They can take the hit. But the gas tax disproportionately hurts two other groups who don't deserve it: the poor, and the rural. The former often drive inefficient, older vehicles, and are simply less able to use them when gas prices and taxes rise. The latter don't have public transportation options and often have to go much farther to complete basic tasks, like food shopping or taking their kids to school. And all that'd be okay if there was some compelling evidence that a gas tax would...
  • New Plan, Same as the Old Plan

    So the new Bush energy plan (not, to be clear, the atrocious energy bill). It's not really bad, just kinda lame. I mean, yes, we do need to break through the impasses that are keeping nuclear energy plants and liquid natural gas terminals from being built. And the hybrid car subsidy is certainly a good thing. Neither am I really against constructing a few more refineries. But for a president who prides himself on bold strokes and towering ambition, this is kid's stuff. This is pecking your date on the cheek before drinking a warm glass of milk and going to bed. This ain't, in other words, shit. The affordable oil's gonna run out, kids. Whether it's now or later, it's riding into the sunset as we speak. Bush says: "Over the past decade, our energy consumption has increased by more than 12 percent, while our domestic production has increased by less than one-half of 1 percent," he added. "It's now time to fix it." But even that overstates our abilities, Our production, after all, doesn'...
  • Dog-Blogging, and Support This Site!

    I've really been remiss in not plugging the site's first advertiser, Obey the Pure Breed . You guys should do me a favor and check the site out, it's really very funny. And in honor of the dog-theme and the Papillon section, and in expectation of you all visiting the site (preferrably through this link), I'm going to do my first-ever dog-blogging and introduce my -- or at least my family's -- papillon to the world. Behold, Pappy: That would be my girlfriend's foot, apparently delivering a kick to my poor dog's ribs. Not quite sure why she's wailing on him, but I'm sure she's got her reasons. Maybe if you visit my advertiser, she'll tell you them.