Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Worst columnist I have read

There are a lot of bad columnists out there (yes, Tom Friedman, I include you), but I have the candidate for the worst. It is Ruben Navarette Jr. of my local San Diego Union Tribune. He rarely makes a coherent argument. Either through ignorance or malice, his writing consists of ad hominem attacks on his opponents. I have written several letters to the editor protesting his columns, but they have so far been unpublished. This guy annoys me. How about laying out an actual case for your position instead of calling your opponents protectionists, racists, nativists, vigilantes, etc..?

Of course, I'm a bad person by criticizing him, so I'll stop now.

Monday, July 23, 2007

The failure of the news media

No, this isn't a piece complaining about the foul fiends of the liberal media. This is a piece complaining about the foul fiends of the superficial media. Recently, the Washington Post published an article about the pressing issue of the day- Hillary Clinton's cleavage. Not joking, unfortunately. The link is here if you don't believe me. Thanks, by the way, to Brendan Nyhan's blog for this story--in my judgement the best blog out there. Also, there was recently a column by Robert Samuelson on another important story- the decline of the comma. These ridiculous "stories" would be funny if it wasn't for the fact that serious issues, e.g. Darfur, are not getting talked about

Romney's definition of socialism

Mitt Romney makes a telling statement in a feeble attempt to portray Hillary Clinton as a "Marxist." (Anyone to the left of Phil Gramm is a Marxist in right-wing eyes, of course). He says:

Hillary Clinton just gave a speech the other day about her view on the economy. She said it's time to get rid of that (an on-your-own society) and replace that with shared responsibility and we're in-it-together society. That's out with Adam Smith and in with Karl Marx.

This statement tells you exactly what the difference is between liberalism and conservatism. What Romney is articulating is conservatism in its most heartless, social Darwinist aspect. You're on your own if you're poor, unemployed, homeless, etc.. We have no responsibility whatsover to our fellow Americans. Anyone who thinks we do have a social responsibility to our fellow ciitzens is--heaven help us--a Marxist. (In the same speech Romney goes on to detail the horrors that await us if "socialized medicine" comes to America.)

This should be the key issue in the 2008 elections. It's community v. selfishness. The question is simple: do we owe a responsibility to our fellow Americans or do we live solely for ourselves. Then again, don't listen to me- I'm one of those Marxists who believes in universal health care and is concerned about income inequality.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Dems' agenda;mixed bag

For the most part, I endorse most of the proposals that will be brought to the floor by the Democrats. I don't support the minimum wage increase and wish they would be more aggressive on Iraq, but they are bringing some good proposals to the table. Two particularly good ideas are federal funding for stem-cell research and allowing the government to negotiate directly with the drug companies to keep prices low. Both of these plans should pass with bipartisan support. If the Dems can't come through on these, they might as well kiss 2008 goodbye now.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

End the gag rule

Bradford Plumer has a must-read article at the New Republic about the harm the global gag rule is putting on women in developing countries. See here . To put it honestly and bluntly, thousands of women in Africa are dying because U.S. health policy is being controlled by anti-abortion, anti-contraception lunatics. Notice I don't say pro-life. As the article points out, the gag rule actually increases the amount of abortions performed by denying women the access to contraception they desperately need. The Democrats desperately need to address the issue.

Hold them accountable for being wrong

Glenn Greenwald has an excellent article in the American Conservative about how pundits who supported the Iraq war and made ridiculous Pollyannish predictions are still taken seriously by the mainstream media. (I cannot find the link, regrettably). He names several, primarily Charles Krauthammer, Peggy Noonan, and Ralph Peters, but neglects to mention many others equally culpable. Take William Kristol, please. He dismissed the idea that Shia and Sunni would fight among themselves as the stuff of pop psychology. Now he wants us to attack Iran, predicting (shock!) that the Iranians will welcome us as liberators. As Bill Maher said: Take this war off, Nostradamus.

Kristol, Krauthammer, the Wall Street Journal editorial page, the National Review- in sum, basically all the neocons were wrong about Iraq. I want one thing from them: a big mea culpa. Just once on national TV is all I ask. And Michael Ledeen and Grover Norquist: don't say you were against the war in 2003 when you weren't. This is the age of instant Googling. We can find your true statements online in seconds. You were wrong; don't be dishonest too. Just say two words: My bad. You'll feel better.