Tuesday, February 28, 2006

WaPo: Talking About Racism Man

Here is a noteworthy, if not well reasoned, reflection on the current controversy surrounding the transfer of administration in major American ports from one segment of the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company to DPW. Many in the world of punditry, which had little to say about the transaction and its potential consequences when it was in progress last year, have not been subtle in admitting their concerns about DPW are based in a lingering mistrust of the UAE.

The notion that a company owned by any foreign government, and DPW is apparently owned by the UAE, is understandably troubling. However, the argument in the public forum is whether or not the United States should keep its business with a company now operated by Arabs.

Cohen misses the obvious point that the defense by Bush of this deal is motivated by his intrasigent streak. However, he is absolutely right to commend Bush for his comments acknowledging the fundamental inequity of those who openly oppose the transfer of administration simply because Arab character of DPW.

As a bigot he leaves a lot to be desired.

I will acknowledge doubts about the motivation of Mr. Bush, but it is impossible for me to reasonably disagree with Cohen that the President has done the right thing in this instance.

Monday, February 27, 2006

TPM Cafe: Icon of Liberal Media Joins Bolton;
Opposes Reform of UN Human Rights Commission

First, is it surprising to anybody at all that Bolton, who apparently proposed a set of reforms tht would make Russia and China permanent members of the Human Rights Commission, is opposing a serious, albeit it deficient, effort at reform of a major UN organ. Besides the fact that he was brought in to spur reform and that hypocritical approaches to human rights is a major criticism of the UN, is there any reason why John Bolton might have reason to endorse forward progress.

Secondly, if the NY Times is so committed to its Ivy Tower liberal bleeding-heart bias, then why are they endorsing the stance of John Bolton. It seems there conservative idealism, not altogether terrible, has gotten the better of them as they expect that the obstructive opposition by Bolton "can produce something better."

Washington Post: Running on Empty
This Washington Post profile of Sen. George Allen, acknowledged as a leading contender for the GOP nomination should he retain his seat this year, gives a fairly superficial view of the candidate. Like most other conservatives (like Allen I will make a shallow effort not to generalize) he takes for his model a deified Ronald Reagan and like the GOP hero, he has made his reputation on his ability to sell a bright smile as the substance of actual leadership.
In fact, Allen has a knack for partisan rhetoric and gamesmanship, but he is rarely -- if ever -- tagged with the reputation as a negative politician because of his down-home manner and generally sunny disposition.

It occurs to the Exile that this next few years will be more like one enormous and unending contest. It appears all to certain that the era of non-stop campaigning is her to stay, much to the detriment of our Republican system based on the premise that the government will take a break between elections to govern something.
But if the tragedy of never-ending campaigns is to be put into perspective, what this really means is that the marginal tabloid issues and increasingly empty rhetoric of campaigns will become the new basis for governing.

But of my favorite quotes attributed to the junior senator in this piece the
"the oft-repeated mantra:
"Second-guessing is not a strategy."

Allen echoes a critical defense of the current aministration - that a unchanging and flawed status quo is necessarily better than any alternatives simply because it is the pre-existing condition. According to this notion, amending the constitution would not have been a viable strategy for governing. But forgive the digression.

Governor Allen has simple ideas and is plain-spoken. His Jeffersonian vision for the country is likely as plain and simple, and would be as irrelevant in an Allen presidency, as his dysfunctional memory. Allen, who did achieve some progress during his years in Richmond, seems to forget the financial crisis Virginia faced following his administration. What is unbelievable, however, is how he has managed to connect in his mind the recent financial recovery to his economic policies from a decade prior. Virginians know which recent governor is in touch with reality and fiscal sanity.

If the Democrats have become the party without a voice, then the GOP has become the party without and brain. But there is no way to know how far Allen will go on his plain and simple empty-headed brand of political drivel.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Washington Monthly: Media Bias

Monday, February 13, 2006

Washington Post: Hold On To Those Yearning to Breathe Free, We Need Ice Dancers

There is a clearly identified problem in this article, namely the outrageous and ridiculous double standard employed to distinguish between the applications of the two immigrants in question. The term 'ridiculous' is employed with a purpose, indicating that the sort of immigration policy highlighted by this story is worthy of ridicule.

Imagine this scenario:

A refugee from Sierra Leone and her attorney wait for hours in a crowded courthouse, after months of assembling what documents were available and testimony from what witnesses cared enough to help a familf as ravaged by war as their homeland. Now at the end of this long waiting, the small party is brought before the designated authority of the US Government who tells them, calmly if not without an ounce of consideration for their trouble, that a formal adoption paper, something that basically does not exist for refugees, is the only pertinent detail in the case. To appeal the issue further will take months of incalculable struggle against an indifferent system. But for a mother whose child is depening on her, there is no alternative.

At the same time across town, in a different part of the legal system, a quick break in the schedule in Congress confers citizenship on a young woman in a hurry. She has also been working for months, not on her paperwork to become an American, but on her ice dancing. Her citizenship has come just in time for her to leave her adopted country for Italy for a few weeks of glorious competition and revelry. She will never meet the young girl in Sierra Leone whose hope for the future is fading daily, unless perhaps she uses the protection of her status as an American to go to Africa with a volunteer organization, perhaps and IOC charity.

When that girl, who by then will have spent years mourning the war that took her first family from her and the cold and callous government that kept her from her second, realizes she has finally met an American she might ask about the best thing about life as an a citizen of the land of the free. Ice dancing in Italy.