Thursday, February 28, 2008

The fine print

Ya know, sometimes you've gotta read to the bottom of those bland newspaper articles to get the gist. Like this one that talks about the greater intensity and turnout of Democrats in the primary contests throughout the country.

Second from the last graph, as counterpoint to the Democrats' enlistment of new voters, the Republicans offer this effort in Ohio's upcoming primary:

"Maggie Nafziger, the county GOP executive director, says the database used to target such voters includes things like applications for licenses to carry a concealed weapon.
'I can find the answers to those questions on anyone in Ohio,' Nafziger tells CNN. 'Then we go after them.'"

Life's a bitch

Especially if you're hard of hearing, elderly and wearing a bulky jacket in the winter in Baghdad.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Back to the drawing board

Just last week, pundits, echoing Bush and McCain, reported that Iraq had met one of the important political "benchmarks" by adopting a plan for elections of provincial governments. Well, not so fast. Apparently, the triumvirate of something called the "presidential council," consisting of three men, a Kurd, and Sunni and a Shiite, who were required to approve the measure, didn't. And not on some insubstantial ground: there was disagreement about the power of the national government, particularly when it comes to firing the heads of the regional governments. It wasn't certain when or if these differences would be overcome, the measure having been sent back to the Iraqi parliament for further process, and it's likely that the delay will mean that the scheduled provincial elections, set for October 1, won't take place.

The Bush administration's cavalier reaction: "That's democracy." My reaction: Meanwhile our troops and treasure are being wasted.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Worst of both worlds

Now the "s" word--stagflation--has replaced recession as the most worrisome economic prospect. I remember those dog days. The slow economy, coupled with increasing prices, meant that the idea of lowering interest rates to spur the economy would trigger an inflationary spiral, so there was nothing to be done to stop the ongoing quarters of zero economic growth. Are we there yet?

Monday, February 25, 2008

Killing me softly...

So, it turns out that Osama bin Laden was right: We're gonna kill ourselves, with only a little help from our enemies. Indeed, Pogo was right after all.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Oh, damn

It's with sadness that I report that Ralph Nader has decided to run for President again. Sadness because, although I agree with everything he says about the inadequacies of the stated policies of both Clinton and Obama (and a fortiori McCain), the solution is not for him to become a presidential candidate and thereby to weaken his influence, but rather to work with one (or both) of the Democratic candidates toward his ends. Nader is weakening his influence by these repeated candidacies, weakening his image and his legacy as well. Instead of effectively raising his laudable policies into public discourse, he's isolating himself from the electoral process and diminishing them and himself, becoming now a near-ridiculous footnote in history.