Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Travel Wishlist

I want to do something better than hanging out in Boston this winter break. How about Cuba? I hadn't had any good ideas until chatting with a Chilean classmate who described it as a "Martian world" and a "museum" - the 1950's cars, the Caribbean culture, and the desperation that drives a few Cubans crazy enough to attempt the channel to Miami. The cigars, the architecture, the music... sounds like a plan!

Now if only the Canadian dollar wasn't so expensive.

Monday, October 30, 2006

The Grim Voter

Drudge links to a Journal News story about the voting dead. The paper reports on an effective bit of high comedy investigative journalism:
The [Poughkeepsie] Journal's analysis of New York's 3-month-old database is the first to determine the potential for errors and fraud in voting. It matched names, dates of birth and ZIP codes in the state's database of 11.7 million voter registration records against the same information in the Social Security Administration's "Death Master File."
What I want to know is how one can become a Death Master!

It seems this Death Master is ordering his peons to vote:
A new statewide database of registered voters contains as many as 77,000 dead people on its rolls, and as many as 2,600 of them have cast votes from the grave, according to a Poughkeepsie Journal computer-assisted analysis.
Nor is the Death Master nonpartisan:
Democrats who cast votes after they died outnumbered Republicans by more than 4 to 1.
But it turns out that being Death Master isn't all it's cracked up to be:
In most cases, instances of dead voters can be attributed to database mismatches and clerical errors. For instance, the Social Security Administration admits there are people in its master death index who are not dead.

They include Wappingers Falls resident Hilde Stafford, an 85-year-old native of Germany. The master index lists her date of death as June 15, 1997.

"I'm still alive," she said. "I still vote."
Or, as James Taranto would say, Hilde Stafford is still not dead.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Sahara Saifi

The Post today contains a tale of the gallant, made-for-Hollywood side of the War on Terror.
In February 2003, a band of Islamic extremists began scouring the desert expanse of southern Algeria for kidnap victims. The sparsely populated region's colored sand dunes and craggy mountains were a magnet for European tourists. Soon, foreigners began to vanish, two or three at a time. Within a month, 32 Europeans...had been rounded up.

The leader of the cell, [Amari] Saifi, was a tall, bearded man who dressed in shabby robes and worn-out sneakers; often he wore black eye makeup to ward off the sun's glare. Known as Abderrazak al-Para, or "the paratrooper," he had deserted from the Algerian army in 1991
Cameras pan across the Saharan mountains. They focus on a mysterious desert-dweller esconced in rocks and focusing his telescope on a cloud of dust that eventually disgorges a touring jeep. A few gutteral commands later, guerrillas in cotton robes spring upon the unsuspecting Europeans.

Flash to a control room in Northern Virginia. Angry, constipated commanders are convinced by some young free thinker that this represents a golden opportunity to salvage the place of Free America among the Saharan governments.

Satellite cameras, 700 U.S. special forces, and the armies of six nations careen across the striking red and brown barrens of the Sahel in search of Saifi. Gun battles erupt; Saifi always slips away. Finally, another rebel group captures him on their terrain, and months of tense, secretive negotiations finally result in Saifi's imprisonment. A few years later, perhaps, he is freed as a sadder and wiser man, repentant and wishing only to return to the free air of his desolate mountains.

This one's for you, Hollywood, including the terrific photo gallery.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Congressional Campaigns Play 'Limbo'

How low can they go?

On the morning when WaPo's top politics story is about the "outlandish" negative advertizing this election cycle, Senator George Allen makes news with a press appearance revealing prurient passages from opponent Jim Webb's war novels. Webb has now gone on record saying his novels are "'a little bit inappropriate' to be read on news radio." The controversy is taking on Clintonian dimensions, with debate on what does or does not constitute "a sexual act".

Allen's press release - apparently only published by the Drudge Report as edited news sources couldn't confirm the quotes quickly enough for today's papers - reads:
Webb’s novels disturbingly and consistently – indeed, almost uniformly – portray women as servile, subordinate, inept, incompetent, promiscuous, perverted, or some combination of these. In novel after novel, Webb assigns his female characters base, negative characteristics. In thousands of pages of fiction penned by Webb, there are few if any strong, admirable women or positive female role models.

Why does Jim Webb refuse to portray women in a respectful, positive light, whether in his non-fiction concerning their role in the military, or in his provocative novels? How can women trust him to represent their views in the Senate when chauvinistic attitudes and sexually exploitive references run throughout his fiction and non-fiction writings?
Global Review declines to link to the complete content, which is essentially porn writing.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

L'Bar Nash b'Nishaq

If you have seen the anti-stem cell cloning advertisement "Response to Michael J. Fox" opposing Missouri's Amendment 2 and featuring Jim Caviezel, Jeff Suppan, Kurt Warner, and others, you've probably wondered what Caviezel was saying in Aramaic to open the advert.

Also wondering are the New York Times and most other news sources. Working harder than them for you is Global Review, which went the extra mile and (along with our Senior Latin Correspondent) watched The Passion of the Christ last night in search of the words I heard on the ad.

The words were: l'bar nash b'nishaq. The "l" is the definite article, "bar" means 'son', "nash" is 'man', similar to Arabic "nass", "b" is 'with' (same as Arabic), and we can infer from context that "nishaq" means 'kiss'. In the film, this is the last part of the sentence that is rendered in English as: "Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?" Literally, it means "Son of Man with a kiss".

The only other source that has translated the ad is the Washington Times, which says the words include the meaning 'betray'. While Global Review hasn't consulted Aramaic scholars as the Times claims to have, we're reasonably sure that the word for 'betray' is not in fact included in the ad. The Times also talks to the producers of the ad, and confirms what we suspected:
Cathy Cleaver Ruse, a spokeswoman for Missourians Against Human Cloning, which produced the ad, said the group had Mr. Caviezel say the Aramaic phrase in a contemporary setting but without subtitles "to make the ad a little more intriguing."... "It means 'You betray me with a kiss,' which means Amendment Two is a betrayal because it is deceptive," Ms. Ruse said. "It promises one thing and delivers another."
How did they find somebody whose name is almost "Clever Ruse" to pitch this?

If you don't know the background, note that Michael J. Fox was featured shaking and weaving from the effects of Parkinson's Disease in an ad aired in Missouri during the first game of the World Series. The ad is paid for by Claire McCaskill's senatorial campaign, but relates equally to Amendment 2, which would make stem cell research a constitutional right in Missouri. The response was hastily prepared for last night's game (though the game was rained out, it seems from the news stories that the commercial ran), and was constructed to oppose Amendment 2, and is not affiliated with Jim Talent's campaign.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Two More Campaign Ads

Candidate Ken Procaccianti has two more campaign ads on YouTube: Boston Tea Party 2006, and his best work so far, Are You Ready to Save, a clever spoof of recent insurance ads.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Greed and Development

HopeAnne writes:
I was right in the middle of the Republic, studying for my midterm on Friday. Glaucon and Socrates are discussing their hypothetical "City of Pigs" and dialoguing as follows:
...And if we live like that, we'll have a far greater need for doctors than we did before?
-Much greater.
And the land, I suppose, that used to be adequate to feed the population we had then, will cease to be adequate and become too small. What do you think?
-The same.
I wrote in the margins, greed makes resources scarce. A very simple premise from my macro class.
What HopeAnne should have learned in her macro class is that greed does not make resources scarce; it makes them abundant.

Socrates and his interlocutor neglect that, provided the rule of law, their city's greed will drive its very development. As each landowner finds his dreams of avarice unfulfilled by his paltry holdings, he will dream up new ways to produce more crops from the same land, or open up foreign trade to bring in new goods. Rather than driving up prices and immiserating the City of Pigs, Socrates and Glaucon would be shocked to see that greed has ever been the boon of law-abiding societies.

This is not to say that greed is good, but to say that you get what you want; societies that want wealth get wealth. Societies that place a high value instead on leisure time or on family cohesion, for example, get those; they are presumably as happy with their choices as we Western materialists are with ours.

More Photos Uploaded

Three news sets of photos added to Flickr. Click each one for slideshows of hiking in Jbel Ayachi, teaching in and hiking near Midelt, and the Edenic gardens and purgatorial mountains of Tineghir.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

A Moving Prayer

As recorded by Nehemiah
Now therefore, our God,the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who keeps covenant and lovingkindness,
Do not let all [our] hardship seem insignificant before You...
However, You are just in all that has come upon us;
For You have dealt faithfully, but we have acted wickedly.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Powerful Visitors?

Global Review welcomes the office of Senator Russ Feingold, whence a visitor came today and read for 22 minutes. This is the first time I know of receiving traffic from within the halls of power.


Following a tip-off from HopeAnne, I recruited two kittens whom I photographed huddling in a doorway in Essaouira for the Kitten War. In early action, they've sustained heavy losses, compiling a record of just 7-11-2.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Kick the UN out. Seriously.

This shouldn't be difficult for the General Assembly. Given the choice between having a representative of Hugo Chavez - who just one month ago abused the General Assembly floor to call another leader 'the Devil' - or a jelly donut on the Security Council, all but a few should have voted for the donut. As it is, the alternative to Venezuela is not a donut - it's Guatemala, a small but representative country of Latin America, certainly more representative than Venezuela, an oil-rich kleptocracy with a messianic presidente.

Nonetheless, half the General Assembly voted for Venezuela in early rounds. Apparently Chavez's rhetoric didn't fall on deaf ears. And apparently, the U.S. is no longer appreciated as host of the world's deliberative body. If Venezuela beats out Guatemala in tomorrow's voting rounds, it is high time to bid adieu to the UN and break up the General Assembly into luxury condominiums.

Three Hundred Million of My Closest Friends

Congrats to the lucky parents of the 3,000,000th 300,000,000th American, who will statistically be born in the next few hours. You'll never know who you actually are.

Free-for-All 2008: If Not Hillary... Whom?

I've spoken to Democrats from a dozen states. Almost all of them say, "Hillary will probably win, but I don't really like her." If only they could all hear each other!

However, the water gets a lot murkier when the question of "who else" arises. Iowans may vote for their own Tom Vilsack, but then America would just write off the Iowa Caucus. Moderate Democrats see their hopes circling the drain with the withdrawal of Mark Warner, and leftist Dems might make Russ Feingold a candidate, but they aren't numerous enough to make him a winner.

Wanted: a non-extreme Democrat who is electable (in November), likable (to donors), and tolerable (to enough primary-voting Dems). The only solution Global Review can find is Barack Obama, whose star will never be higher than it is now. TIME magazine's new issue has the senator's serious face beaming forth light and goodness from its cover, and speaks with the voice of a historian describing the rise of Caesar.
Obama wanders into a casual disquisition about the sluggish nature of democracy. The answer is not even remotely a standard, pretaped political response. He moves through some fairly arcane turf, talking about how political gerrymandering has led to a generation of politicians who come from safe districts where they don't have to consider the other side of the debate, which has made compromise--and therefore legislative progress--more difficult. "That's why I favored Arnold Schwarzenegger's proposal last year, a nonpartisan commission to draw the congressional-district maps in California. Too bad it lost." The crowd is keeping up with Obama, listening closely as he segues into a detailed discussion of the federal budget. Eventually, he realizes he has been filibustering and apologizes to the crowd for "making a speech." No one seems to care, since Obama is doing something pretty rare in latter-day American politics: he is respecting their intelligence.
While one could accuse TIME's editors of anointing "The Next President" (yes, that's in boldface next to Obama's pic on the cover), it's hard to argue with the choice. The caveat of his new-ness in Washington is already wearing out, having been so early and often invoked. By the time most people begin paying attention in late 2007, Obama's new-ness will be old news.
Obama's personal appeal is made manifest when he steps down from the podium and is swarmed by well-wishers of all ages and hues, although the difference in reaction between whites and blacks is subtly striking. The African Americans tend to be fairly reserved--quiet pride, knowing nods and be-careful-now looks. The white people, by contrast, are out of control. A nurse named Greta, just off a 12-hour shift, tentatively reaches out to touch the Senator's sleeve. "Oh, my God! Oh, my God! I just touched a future President! I can't believe it!"
Global Review isn't yet convinced that Obama can pull Hillary's support, which he'll have to do to win. But we'll watch Deval Patrick's margins in Massachusetts as compared to the pre-election polls; that could give a good indicator of just how much being black helps or hurts a candidate in an old-liberal electorate (the new-liberal electorate of the primary fell all over itself voting for Patrick).

It's hard to infer much from this month's rankings. All candidates were up save Hagel; even the purged Daschle and Tancredo posted gains. Additionally, the upcoming midterm elections overstate candidates running for reelection, including Allen and Clinton.

The monthly prediction...
Oct '06: McCain & Giuliani over Clinton & Warner
Sep '06: McCain & Giuliani over Clinton & Warner
Aug '06: McCain & Giuliani over Clinton & Warner
Jul '06: Clinton & Warner over Allen & Romney
Jun '06: Clinton & Warner over Allen & Romney
May '06: Clinton & Warner over Allen & Romney
Apr '06: Clinton & Warner over Allen & Romney
Mar '06: Clinton & Warner over Allen & Rice
Feb '06: Clinton & Warner over Allen & Rice

Rank Candidate ChatterRank Change
R.1 Sen. John McCain 1,9100
R.2 Sen. Bill Frist 1,360+2
R.3 Sen. George Allen 1,3000
R.4 Gov. Mitt Romney 1,140-2
R.5 Secy. Condoleezza Rice 604+1
R.6 Rudy Giuliani 556-1
R.7 Gov. George Pataki 3760
R.8 Gov. Jeb Bush 333+1
R.9 Newt Gingrich 293+1
R.10 Gov. Mike Huckabee 232-2
R.11 Sen. Sam Brownback 153+1
R.12 Sen. Chuck Hagel 52-1
D.1 Sen. Hillary Clinton 2,7100
D.2 Sen. John Kerry 2,2000
D.3 Gov. Mark Warner 1,120+2
D.4 Sen. John Edwards 1,0100
D.5 Sen. Barack Obama 932+1
D.6 Al Gore 756-3
D.7 Sen. Harry Reid 553+5
D.8 Howard Dean 517-1
D.9 Sen. Evan Bayh 488-1
D.10 Gov. Bill Richardson 479-2
D.11 Sen. Russ Feingold 4360
D.12 Gov. Tom Vilsack 418+1
D.13 Sen. Joseph Biden 385-3
D.14 Sen. Christopher Dodd 354+1*
D.15 Wesley Clark 115-1

Notes: The Chatter Rankings are created by searching each candidate's name plus "2008" in the Google News database. Tom Tancredo and Tom Daschle have been purged after several months of low results. However, they are still fringe candidates in the sense that the rising tide brought them both up to about 50 chatter as compared to 20 last month. Senator Christopher Dodd qualifies this month for the first time. Last month he was tested and did not qualify as "Chris Dodd", but that was my error: like Giuliani, Feingold, and Biden, he is commonly known by his given name as well as a nickname. My solution, since all of these have unique surnames, is to search without a first name. This overstates them relative to other candidates by 2-3% (this number is derived by searching the other candidates by last only and comparing with first+last).

See graphs of the past Chatter Rankings plus Chatter Rankings from September, August, July, June, May, April, March, February, December, August, July, June, and May.

Romney Accepted by the Christian Right?

Baptist churches don't put Mormons in the pulpit. So what was Gov. Mitt Romney doing at Tremont Temple "pounding his fist" on the lectern last night?

Quite possibly, he was really putting his presidential campaign into orbit by demonstrating that he can play ball with evangelical conservatives - and that they are willing to let him play. Such luminaries as James Dobson and Gary Bauer agreed to share a big stage with Mitt, and the attendees in Boston applauded the Governor's righteous pronouncements. The Christian right will help Mitt, obviously, but he can also help them. By showing that they can line up behind an apostate (Mormons do not believe in the divinity of Christ), the Christian right shows that it truly is interested in policy matters, not theocracy.

Thursday, October 12, 2006


Former Governor Mark Warner has elected not to seek the presidency, after a "final gut check", according to NYTimes blog The Caucus. He had been in full pre-race swing, but decided he doesn't want to be president bad enough (and doesn't want to run the gauntlet of a punishing primary with a slim chance of winning).
"He realized how hard this was going to be," said one Democratic official, friendly to Mr. Warner. “He’s a great general election candidate, but he thought he would have difficulty winning the primary."
The political cynic would take this as code for, "He's still hoping to be vice president", the which is the role Global Review has been predicting for Warner all along. In terms of the Chatter Rankings, this should lead to a spike in Warner's chatter for the upcoming October rankings, as the news cycles through his decision not to run, and then a sharp dropoff in November and December. Global Review will keep tabs on whether he's being talked about as a vice presidential nominee, a role for which he seems uniquely suited among the madding crowd of Democratic hopefuls.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Procaccianti v. DiMasi

A college colleague of mine, Ken Procaccianti, is running against Massachusetts House Speaker Sal DiMasi, who is entrenched in his North End-based Boston district. I saw him prepping for the race last winter - at Professor Mike Dukakis' office. The association reflects well on both of them: the elder statesman and the young reformer crossing party lines to build healthy politics in Beantown.

Check out Ken's adverts (TTYL and Running for Boston) and website, and the HubPolitics blog, a conservative review of "politics in the hub of the universe", which has kept tabs on Ken. In addition, if you haven't registered to vote, do!

Update: Added HubPolitics to the blogroll for the election season, maybe longer.

The Yankees Aren't That Bad

Joe Torre has told CNN that the small plane that crashed into a Manhattan high rise today belonged to Cory Lidle, who is feared to be among two dead. All baseball fans mourn him, if true; we want the Yankees to lose games, not lives.

Update: As of 1 minute ago, ESPN confirms Lidle's death, though they don't (yet) mention the source of the confirmation.

New York Yankees: A Heritage of Avarice and Theft

The Soxaholix scoop a scintillating interview about the origin of the New York Yankees. The Yankees, of course, were a Baltimore club their first year, but in 1903 (the year the Red Sox won the first World Series), they were bought by a Tammany Hall police crook, who proceeded to steal the famous 'NY' logo from the police department's heroes who died in the line of fire.

I see a great lawsuit here: the police heroes who died on 9/11 sue for revenues on all the Yankee merchandise... the Yanks would have to settle lucratively with them to avoid hugely negative publicity. Muahaha!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

A Nobel We Can All Misunderstand

The Wall Street Journal has a disquisition on capitalism v. socialism by 2006 Nobel winner Edmund Phelps. He may be a remarkably good economist, but he's also a remarkably poor writer. His sentences obscure their meaning rather than reveal it, and he even leaves the occasional ambiguous antecedent.

Monday, October 9, 2006

Newsflash: Muslims Oppressed by Government

An elderly Muslim cleric was arrested, along with 1,000 of his supporters, for supporting "traditional religion", and criticizing the government. He will probably be held without bail and without trial, and may be tortured. In any case, it's a flagrant violation of religious civil rights, since he did not threaten violence.

Of course, liberals are unlikely to get bent out of shape, since he won't be sent to Guantanamo, since he - Ayatollah Mohammad Kazemeni Boroujerdi - is Iranian, and when Iran oppresses traditional Muslims, it's just par for the course. If only he'd lived in the Great Satan, where he could have preached old-fashioned Muslim values without fear of the government!

To Boston

Anyone interested in going from Rochester to Boston and back this weekend, drop me a note; I'm going with a friend from Friday morning to Monday afternoon.

A Nobel We Can All Understand

In honor of today's Nobel laureate, Edmund Phelps of Columbia U, we have a short lesson in macroeconomics.

In the 1960's, economists believed a country could trade off unemployment and inflation along a fairly deterministic curve, the Phillips Curve. But there was a catch: once people knew that governments wanted to exploit the curve, it broke down. Why? Because the Phillips Curve depends on expectations; if workers know that the government's monetary policy is designed to raise wages, they'll demand higher wages, which in turn leads to inflation. But firms won't hire more people, since they have to keep raising wages to attract good people... voila, stagflation.

Phelps, of course, said it a lot better than that, which is why he has a Nobel Prize. Also, the illustration showing the dissolution of the Phillips Curve is borrowed from Ingimayne.com, which has a more technical discussion of the breakdown.

Kim's Attention Deficit

"Iraq, Iran, and North Korea", "Iran, Iraq, and North Korea"... you always hear North Korea last when the Axis of Evil is recalled. Kim Jung-Il is determined to change that. Every time another member of the Axis becomes a media darling (or a target of the neoconservatives), the doughty Mr. Kim finds some stunt to pull just to remind the world that he is truly the most evil of them all. He shocked InstantReplay and the rest of the Western world in October 2002, admitting to having a nuclear program, as the U.S. was gearing up for the invasion of Iraq. Now he's setting off nukes while the world is agitated over Iran's brazen nuclear-ness. This may sound like laughing off a very serious matter, but the reality is that if he's crazy enough, he may end up killing thousands in order to prove just how important he really is.

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

The '82 Model

Joseph Califano and Rudy Giuliani led the Justice Department's investigation of the Congressional page scandal (sex and drugs) in 1982-83. Califano registers his opinion in the Post that it was better in the old days, when Congress policed itself instead of having the dirty work done by the Justice Department. He argues that this yielded satisfactory results:
We had received a host of allegations of sexual misconduct and drug use and sale by other pages and House members...

We found no evidence of widespread sexual misconduct. We did find that Rep. Daniel Crane (R-Ill.) had had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old female page and that Rep. Gerry Studds (D-Mass.) had sexual relations with a 17-year-old male page and had made advances to other teenage male pages.

When I reported our findings to [Speaker Tip] O'Neill and [Minority Leader Robert] Michel, the dishonor that these members had brought on the House infuriated the two leaders. "Get it out," they said, "and let the committee recommend disciplinary action," which its four Democratic and four Republican members did, unanimously, in July 1983. Crane and Studds were censured by the House. Crane resigned his seat. Studds chose to stay on and was retained in office by his constituents for 13 more years.
So back in the old days, when Congressmen were Congressmen and pages were nervous, they punished felonious pedophiles with the unbearable castigation of... censure?

Califano includes at least one factual error: all other sources agree that he did not resign, but ran and lost in 1984. For his part, Studds not only refused to apologize, he apparently convinced his Cape Cod constituents that taking a minor on a sex trip to Morocco is no biggie.

So without any policing whatsoever, we've already surpassed the punishments meted out in 1983. I think that puts to rest Califano's "back when I was your age" arguments, though it by no means exhonerates Foley or anyone who knew what he was doing.

Califano argues that the House leadership was less partisan and more interested in the dignity of the institutions back then. Perhaps so. In other words, instead of each party protecting itself, both parties worked together to protect the entire House. The results? Two pedophiles remained in their midst after being outed by a big investigation. Partisanship is a great thing, then, if it leads each party to be watchdog of the other, and forces the House to submit to outside investigation of a scandal. If Democrats had known what the Republican leadership apparently knew, do you think they'd be in a huff about it now? Long live political competition!

More Photos... Relax and Enjoy

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

Revenge of the Finicky

A poem for my Dad. Written over breakfast.

Daddy said food all mixes in your stomach
So I made him breakfast the next day
Marmalade on his eggs
(Eggs he loves the most)
Salt in his coffee
And pepper on his toast

Foley's Folly

Knowing what we know now, OpinionJournal is dead on in its criticism of attempts to widen the net on the scandal surrounding Rep. Mark Foley. Of course, more information (such as knowledge by other representatives of more damning evidence) could change the case significantly, but as it stands it would have been unreasonable to expect a vigilante crusade from Republican leadership.
Speaker Dennis Hastert...admits his office was told months ago about a friendly, non-explicit 2005 email exchange between Mr. Foley and another page. In that exchange, Mr. Foley had asked the teenager "how old are you now" and requested "an email pic." In our admittedly traditional view, this was odd and suspect behavior, especially because Mr. Foley was well known as a homosexual even if he declined to publicly acknowledge it.

But in today's politically correct culture, it's easy to understand how senior Republicans might well have decided they had no grounds to doubt Mr. Foley merely because he was gay and a little too friendly in emails. Some of those liberals now shouting the loudest for Mr. Hastert's head are the same voices who tell us that the larger society must be tolerant of private lifestyle choices, and certainly must never leap to conclusions about gay men and young boys. Are these Democratic critics of Mr. Hastert saying that they now have more sympathy for the Boy Scouts' decision to ban gay scoutmasters? Where's Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on that one?

Monday, October 2, 2006

Cowboy Wanted

Three high-ranking Democrats (a congressman and two Clinton appointees, including National Security Advisor Anthony Lake) favor a unilateral American air assault on Khartoum. They point to force having been effectively exercised by Clinton in 1998 and threatened by Bush in 2001. What they don't say is that the perceived threat of unilateral American force has gone down, not up, since our unilateral invasion of Iraq. Knowing that it would be hard to sell another intervention to at least half the U.S. population, Khartoum can throw its weight around in the UN, where patron China protects it from real punishment.

The Democratic trio - can we call them 'Blue Hawks'? - suggest strong measures:
After swift diplomatic consultations, the United States should press for a U.N. resolution that issues Sudan an ultimatum: accept unconditional deployment of the U.N. force within one week or face military consequences. The resolution would authorize enforcement by U.N. member states, collectively or individually. International military pressure would continue until Sudan relented.

The United States, preferably with NATO involvement and African political support, would strike Sudanese airfields, aircraft and other military assets. It could blockade Port Sudan, through which Sudan's oil exports flow. Then U.N. troops would deploy -- by force, if necessary, with U.S. and NATO backing.

If the United States fails to gain U.N. support, we should act without it.
And here, the Blue Hawks cite an example of the U.S. going forward without UN support. Kosovo, of course! This isn't entirely partisan memory; Kosovo really is a remarkably good analogue for the situation in Darfur.

Nonetheless, their strategy of getting a UN ultimatum and then enforcing it without the UN seems to be cut from a playbook more recent that Kosovo. Dare I use the I-word?

Sunday, October 1, 2006

The Tide Begins

Just a few of my Morocco photos have been uploaded to Flickr... many more to come. Here are pix from Marrakech and Essaouira. No registration or other unpleasantries required.

Deval Patrick Watch

A blogger (and writer outside the blogosphere) who knows far more than I do about Deval Patrick and the Mass guber commented on the previous post. Check out Deval Patrick Watch by D.R. Tucker.