Everyday I’m reminded of why I love Newsweek. The articles are well written, authoritative, and willing to actually break news. But more than that, its columnists are fantastic. Fareed Zakaria gives some of the best international relations commentary around, and, with Fred Kaplan writing only semi-frequently, and Foreign Affairs, despite being brilliant, being very hard on the head, he’s the most consistent source for such commentary anywhere. Jonathan Alter gives incredible American political analysis. It gets down to core philosophical subjects often, and covers them well, which makes for a more intellectually stimulating experience than reading just about politics. And Anna Quindlen will blog whether she wants to or not. Her pieces are poignant, personal, and define what it means to be a liberal. Also, she’s undeniably intelligent – Barnard College freshman at age 12. Overall, Newsweek has the best columnists in print. Period.
I’ve determined the five reasons I simply cannot be a Republican. These are issues that are so fundamental to what I believe that I could never compromise them. I hope this helps explain why I post what I post.
I realize this is a divisive one. However, I take the position I do (pro-choice, to use the rhetorical term) not for moral reasons. It’s not the fact that I have no moral objections to abortion that makes me support it’s legality: it’s the fact that the country is so evenly divided on it. It strikes me that, if a significant (more than a third or so; you really can’t put a fraction on it, however) amount of the population wants an act to be legal, and a significant amount doesn’t, a reasonable compromise is to let those who want to perform the act, while allowing those who oppose the act to oppose it. How is what some women choose to do anyone else’s business? This is the most convincing argument to me.
I see this as a civil rights issue: always have, always will. Again, I don’t see how two consenting individuals wanting to be married threatens anyone whatsoever. I think that the “yuck” factor, more than anything else, guides the opposition. That and some extremely literal Biblical interpretation, which, obviously, should have no place in government whatsoever (see next reason). This is a civil liberties issue, not a moral one; even if it was a moral one, Lawrence vs. Texas
banned states from legislating morality. At risk of being too “P.C.” (like I’m one to ever stray from that acronym), opposition to this seems, to me, to be bigoted. And bigotry is the last thing government should promote.
“Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion”: This phrase has been under attack by the Republican Party since the 50s. The Pledge, the Ten Commandments, School Prayer, “In God We Trust”, “God Save This Honorable Court”; all of these things have absolutely NO place WHATSOEVER in government. All of these express a clear belief in monotheism, which, yes Ms. O’Connor, does constitute a religion. Removing religion from government was a huge amount of what the constitution’s framers wanted in America; the argument that all they wanted was no state denomination is laughably narrow. Don’t get me wrong, I like my religion; I also like my government. I just don’t like ’em put together.
I support Israel. I support Palestine. Unfortunately, that nuance seems to be contradictory nowadays. Let me explain: Hamas, Hizballah, Islamic Jihad are all undeniably awful. They should be eradicated as quickly as is humanly possible. I supported the killing of Yassin: I am disappointed that the U.S. did not condone it. I do not buy the argument that it provoked Hamas: if it did, they would have struck Israel very hard by now. However, extreme actions of the Israeli military must not be condoned either. Since September 29th, 2000, 2,810 Palestinians have been killed. Chris Hedges has allegedly seen Palestinian children lured by Israeli soldiers and then shot for sport. This cannot be tolerated. The only practical solution is a two-state one, with sane moderates at the helms of both.
Also known as “judicial review”, or, if you ask Robert Bork or George Bush, “judicial activism”. This two-century old Supreme Court decision embodies the radical idea that Congress can’t pass any law it wants. Imagine that! The Bill of Rights being enforced! Speech and media that are actually free! Citizens who have equal protection under the law! This is activism at it’s worst, folks. Through constitutional amendment (ironically supported by a constitutional scholar) and law (not ironically supported by someone who doesn’t get the constitution), conservatives have attempted to prevent the Supreme Court from having any power of judicial review. What it would do instead…they’re not sure. But I’m sure of one thing: it would be much worse than what they do now.
It’s my belief that, due to my time constraints, I should post twice in a week. To almost make up for that, there will be two posts after this one (this obviously doesn’t count). Sorry for the delay, folks! I still care!
P.S. I take back Dick Clarke’s nomination for Secretary of Homeland Security – he’s said, under oath, that he won’t take part in a Kerry administration. Too bad. I’m putting Sandy Berger in his place.
So, Veep speculation fever has hit the blogosphere. I suppose I should join in on the fun. Personally, I think that the Veep spot is a no-brainer, even though I have a few sentimental favorites (And yes, I know that both would lead to much confusion, the former in names, the latter in constitutional law.) So, I’ve decided to make my picks for…(drumroll please)…the CABINET! Here they are:
Secretary of State: Richard Holbrooke
Secretary of the Treasury: Max Sawicky
Secretary of Defense: Max Cleland
Attorney General: Bill Shaheen
Secretary of the Interior: Deb Callahan
Secretary of Agriculture: Jane Henney
Secretary of Commerce: Joe Lieberman
Secretary of Labor: Dick Gephardt
Secretary of Health and Human Services: Bill Bradley
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development: Gavin Newsom
Secretary of Transportation: Jim Oberstar
Secretary of Energy: Mark Udall
Secretary of Education: Jeanne Shaheen
Secretary of Veterans Affairs: John McCain
Secretary of Homeland Security: Richard Clarke
Now, you’ll soon notice that on some of these (Agriculture, for instance) I just randomly got a related Clinton appointee because the post is so obscure that no person outside that field would have a pick. But for the most part, I think these are fair predictions.
Great article in the latest Foreign Affairs. I only started reading the magazine yesterday, but I love it. Of all the articles I’ve read about reconstruction in Iraq and Afghanistan, this Larry Korb piece is the only one that actually tells why reconstruction is not going as well as we had hoped. He traces it to the end of Vietnam, when military police, medical personnel, and other “extraneous” workers were placed in the Reserve forces. These workers are the bread and butter of reconstruction efforts, and thus need to be on active duty if we are to succeed in Iraq and Afghanistan. The article also points out one side-effect of bringing in so many reserve troops – our defense capability at home is compromised, as many reservists are also paramedics, policemen, and firefighters. This kind of intelligent analysis is severely lacking in major rags like Newsweek and Time, and, until they pick it up, I’m sticking with Foreign Affairs for commentary.
It always bugs me that normally logical people are falling for the appeasement argument in Spain. The reason that the Spanish people ousted Aznar is that he failed to protect them against terrorism. He was focusing too heavily on Iraq, and thus forgot that al-Qaeda is actually a threat, unlike Iraq. Zapareto has carried with him a responsibility to better protect Spain against terrorism, and if there is another attack, he will, rightfully, be kicked out of office. To me, this seems much more logical than the argument that Bush will be better off after an attack. Wouldn’t that mean that the “war on terror” failed?
Again, I apologize for the delay. Okay, post I’ve been meaning to do for a while: the dilemma of Andrew Sullivan. Whether or not to like Sullivan is a serious dilemma in the eyes of a pro-gay liberal like myself. Understandably, his views on gay marriage, adoption, hate-crimes, and employment discrimination are all right on mark with everything I believe. But as Calpundit points out, his hypocrisy is mind-boggling. And sometimes, his logic is downright laughable. For example, in February, he got extremely worked up about the fact that Clinton actually used legal methods to try to capture Osama bin Laden in the 90s. What horror! And I get extremely annoyed with people who blame Clinton for this sort of thing. In the 90s, bin Laden was considered by NO ONE to be a serious threat – even the Republicans who are now bombarding Clinton with accusations. It is ridiculous to attack Clinton for not illegally killing bin Laden when Bush had intelligence suggesting that bin Laden was planning a major attack on the U.S. – and Clinton didn’t. Also, it expresses ignorance about something more fundamental – that terrorism is extremely rare. 9-11 was a statistical anomaly; more people die from malnutrition each year than die from terrorism, even in 2001. Each year, influenza kills over 80,000 people. That’s 26 times the amount killed by terrorism in 2001. And while we spend billions each year trying to prevent terrorism, and even have a whole cabinet department devoted to it, mere millions could provide doctors with the technology to incredibly quickly build flu vaccines for each years strain – as soon as the strain comes out. This is opposed to the 8 month wait currently in place. Please, President Bush, spend the money on that.