Semi-Daily Journal Archive

The Blogspot archive of the weblog of J. Bradford DeLong, Professor of Economics and Chair of the PEIS major at U.C. Berkeley, a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

If I had infinite hours in the day: Henry Farrell reviews George Packer's The Assassin's Gate: "[I]t really does a terrific job of setting out the complexities of politics in Iraq. Pro-war leftists and liberals should read this book too, and reflect carefully on Packer's documentation of how badly "democracy-building" was implemented in practice.... Packer sets out his indictment of the Bush administration: '...a carelessness about human life that amounted to criminal negligence. Swaddled in abstract ideas, convinced of their own righteousness, incapable of self-criticism, indifferent to accountability, they turned a difficult undertaking into a needlessly deadly one. When things went wrong, they found other people to blame. The Iraq War was always winnable; it still is. For this very reason, the recklessness of its authors is all the harder to forgive'.... Jay Conner in comments... [points] me towards this interview with Packer in yesterday's San Francisco Chronicle. Packer qualifies his statement that 'the Iraq War was always winnable; it still is'... by saying that he 'would not have written that line in the present tense' given recent developments... Anil Dash looks at the end of Macromedia, and thus at even less competition in software... General Glut is back... Wonkette: "We're a bit late on this item because, frankly, the implications are terrifying. Afghani brothers Badr Zaman Badr and Abdurrahim Muslim Dost were released at the end of October from three years' detention in Guantanamo. The activity that drew the attention of military interrogators was a satirical piece that Dost wrote in reply to Bill Clinton's 1998 $5 million bounty for the capture of Osama bin Laden in the wake of the US embassy bombing in Tanzania and Kenya. Dost counterproposal: Offer up 5 million Afghanis--valued at roughly $113--in return for the capture of Bill Clinton.... 'Again and again, they were asking questions about this article', Dost told Newsday reporter James Rupert. 'We had to explain this was a satire. It was really pathetic'. Pentagon spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Flex Plexico--who on the basis of his name alone appears to be a satirical charcter himself--insists the brothers' detention 'was directly related to their combat activities [or support] as determined by an appropriate Department of Defense official.'... Americans 'have freedom to criticize their government, and this is very good,' Badr told Rupert. 'We know that America's laws say that a person is innocent until proven guilty' except of course that 'for us it was the opposite.' You know, maybe the DoD really does understand satire, after all." Wonkette: "And of course, the secretary, who delivered her remarks most inappositely moments before boarding a plane for a goodwill tour of Europe, admitted complicity in the only way the Bush administration knows how: with arrogant belligerence." Dan Froomkin: "...according to an e-mail from a White House staffer five days later, the letter never arrived. Margaret Grant sent an e-mail to Blanco's office Sept. 7 asking that the Sept. 2 letter be resent. 'We found it on the governor's Web site but we need "an original," for our staff secretary to formally process the requests she is making,' Grant wrote." Josh Micah Marshall: "Neil Bush traveling through Asia with Rev. Moon to raise money for an underwater tunnel between Russia and Alaska." P.Z. Myers is nervous: "Here's the question. Was this a sincere review, or an example of hard-to-discern sarcasm? Stuff like 'non-biological animals' is so ridiculous that I'm tempted to say it's gotta be a put-on, but then I've read [Intelligent Designers] Ham and Hovind and Dembski and Gish and Wells, and it's become awfully hard to distinguish snark from stupidity any more. Bonus question: 18 of 128 people found the review helpful. What the heck does that mean? 14% of the browsers on Amazon that this was a valid criticism, or do Amazon browsers just approve of funny reviews?" Marginal Revolution links to James Buchanan at Cato Unbound. I say there's something wrong about a discussion of fiscal responsibility that blames deficits on "now-discredited Keynesian economics while excusing Reaganites' "distraction by supply-side arguments" while failing to mention the controls on deficits introduced in the 1990 Budget Enforcement Act at all. Not a good start. John Derbyshire thinks National Review is a family website... All the things John Yoo doesn't know: "a) whether... information obtained under torture is inherently unreliable... b) whether torture... have aided U.S. forces in saving even a single life... c) whether torture... causes the loss of more lives than it saves by creating an atmosphere of sheer hatred of Americans..."

Matthew Yglesias is annoyed: "Also annoying, I would think, would be... you're kidnapped off the streets by the American government and held, without evidence or trial, for a period of five months. And then in turns out the Americans have the wrong guy! 'I have very bad feelings,' concludes the victim, to no one's surprise at all.... I'm being a bit flip because it's hard to get serious about this business without becoming completely depressed about what our country's become... Economist's View: Does Monetary Economics Ignore Rust Belts? Edmund Andrews on the Alternative Minimum Tax... Stygius on Judge Alito...

Stygius on Judge Alito... More high-quality anti-press snark from Matthew Yglesias: "Reading Jeffrey Birnbaum's article on American automakers[' hoping]... 'for the government to provide catastrophic health care coverage.' One person who floated this proposal was, of course, John Kerry who made it the centerpiece of his domestic policy agenda. Tragically, political reporters for major newspapers and television networks chose to devote approximately zero percent of their campaign coverage to this idea or its (significant) merits..."



Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home