I do not understand these people by mattsteinglass
August 31, 2008, 10:52 am
Filed under: President

The NY Times‘ Kate Zernike on supposedly lingering anti-Obama feelings among Hillary supporters:

Karen O’Connor, the director of the Women and Politics Institute at American University, said the convention’s constant repetition about the “18 million cracks in the glass ceiling” had left many people depressed. “If 18 million votes is not enough, what does it take in the Democratic Party to get a woman on the ticket?”

Umm…that would be 19 million votes. Right?


A privilege to be alive by mattsteinglass
August 29, 2008, 1:05 pm
Filed under: President

I took Theda Skocpol’s class “Revolutions” 20 years ago at Harvard. Should anyone suspect her of being a weepy bleeding-heart liberal, she was the hard-ass who taught me that the fundamental attribute of a state is the monopoly on legitimate violence. She also taught me that ideology is never a sufficient motivator for successfully overthrowing a government; people act on their interests and class or ethnic-religious allegiances, not on wispy things like charisma or ideas.

This is how Theda Skocpol is talking about this election:

It is time for all of us — professional experts and commentators, too — to cease self-importance (listen up, Carville) or distanced and pallid commentary (that means you Harold Ford and Mark Shields) and join the fight of our lives. This election matters like only a few others in the history of the United States. Our nation will either move forward, or fall down very far — think of what it will mean in and about America if we cannot grasp the bright potential Obama’s candidacy embodies!

You might decide that this signifies how partisanship can lead even the most distanced and flinty hardheaded observers to lose their intellectual rigor. To me it signifies the opposite — the incredible passion that this campaign has inspired even in people who normally take a very cold-eyed view of politics. And I don’t think that passion is misplaced. To say it’s misplaced in this campaign is to say that passion just has no place in politics, because if you don’t think this campaign has earned it, then really, what are you asking for?

Carl Bernstein on CNN: “The war is coming back as an issue” by mattsteinglass
August 28, 2008, 10:48 am
Filed under: President

Think about it for a second: how crazy is this? We’re in a war, and there’s some question as to whether or not it’s a major issue in the presidential campaign.

Every once in a while you notice these things.

Conservative thinking on global family planning issues by mattsteinglass
August 28, 2008, 10:02 am
Filed under: China | Tags:

This article in the new “conservative Slate,” Culture11, appears to be arguing that to avoid a massive global gender imbalance generated by son preference in Asian countries, the United States should ban abortion in China.

Not sure whether the idea is to do this with smart bombs, by all joining hands and surrounding Tiananmen Square (worked for the Falun Gong!), or by really working with the Chinese Communist Party in a collaborative fashion on introducting new legislation in the National Asssembly.

P.S. The really funny part comes where 300 million angry surplus Chinese men descend upon the world and demand we bring out our wimmins.

Watching US political conventions from abroad by mattsteinglass
August 28, 2008, 9:37 am
Filed under: President

I’ve said in the past that an easy contempt for politics leads to the evisceration of democracy. But watching American political conventions from outside the country, you really do get the sense that the democratic political process induces clinical insanity in the people who participate in it. I’m watching the suffocatingly schmaltzy Spielberg doc on the military, and it’s like listening to a weepy self-dramatizing hysteric, the kind of person who makes you nod sympathetically while thinking, “How do I get out of here? Be sure not to give out phone number.”

A season of firsts by mattsteinglass
August 28, 2008, 9:18 am
Filed under: President

John Kerry just gave a better speech than Bill Clinton.

Russia beats NATO in race to create world’s tiniest state by mattsteinglass
August 27, 2008, 3:04 pm
Filed under: Russia

Russia recognizes Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Kosovo has about 13 times the population of South Ossetia. If Belgium falls apart, the new state of Flanders will be some 50 times as big as South Ossetia. Clearly, the West must close the tiny-breakaway-ethnic-enclave gap, or face imminent doom.