Interest-group Conservatives

Slate editor Jacob Wiesberg has an informative summation of the Republican's transition from being haters of "big government" to being "interest-group conservatives". Money quote:

A recent Cato Institute study points out that for the 101 biggest programs that the Contract With America Republicans proposed to eliminate as unnecessary in 1995, spending has now risen 27 percent under a continuously Republican Congress. Likewise, the conservative notion of deregulation has been supplanted by a demand for moralistic regulation, while the demand for judicial restraint has been replaced by pressure for right-wing judicial activism.


Public Broadcasting experiment

Here's an article from the New York Times on the chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (who is a Republican) and his "aggressively pressing public television to correct what he and other conservatives consider liberal bias." Just for the hell of it, I thought I'd ask, when considering your own definition of bias, is there anything about this article that stands out? In the end, I guess I'm less curious about this particular article than I am about how folks delineate bias.


Fearless Freaks

I saw the Flaming Lips Documentary "Fearless Freaks" yesterday, and thoroughly enjoyed myself. I believe it's a good movie regardless of whether or not you have prior experience with the Lips, but try this on for size; the first eight minutes of the movie. This seems like a smart move from a "gettin your stuff out there" perspective, so kudos to director Bradley Beesley. I watched this clip just a few minutes ago and got sucked back into the story. Also check out Beesley’s other Okie-centric documentary, Okie Noodling. For the curious but un-initiated, noodling is hand-fishing for catfish, which sometimes weigh upwards of 40 pounds.

A haunting thought

Fareed Zakaria has a review of Tom Friedman's new book The World is Flat in the NY Times. Zakaria raises a good point, one that scares me enough that I try not to think about it. Namely, if countries across the world develop economically, eventually they're going to want some bombs, tanks, and guns. Will our economic interdependence keep us from World War III? That's the standard optimists argument, but Zakaria isn't so sanguine. Here's a quote:

"The largest political factor is, of course, the structure of global politics. The flat economic world has been created by an extremely unflat political world. The United States dominates the globe like no country since ancient Rome. It has been at the forefront, pushing for open markets, open trade and open politics. But the consequence of these policies will be to create a more nearly equal world, economically and politically. If China grows economically, at some point it will also gain political ambitions. If Brazil continues to surge, it will want to have a larger voice on the international stage. If India gains economic muscle, history suggests that it will also want the security of a stronger military. Friedman tells us that the economic relations between states will be a powerful deterrent to war, which is true if nations act sensibly. But as we have seen over the last three years, pride, honor and rage play a large part in global politics.

The ultimate challenge for America -- and for Americans -- is whether we are prepared for this flat world, economic and political. While hierarchies are being eroded and playing fields leveled as other countries and people rise in importance and ambition, are we conducting ourselves in a way that will succeed in this new atmosphere? Or will it turn out that, having globalized the world, the United States had forgotten to globalize itself?"

Did he really say that?

I just saw Pat Robertson (700 club guy and Christian fundamentalist) on George Stephanopoulos's show on ABC. It was delicious. He actually said that Muslims and Hindus are not fit for public office. I was amazed.
I think this is a brilliant approach to the rise of Christian fundamentalism. Bring it out into the open, into the public square, into the main stream media, and let the public see its real beliefs. This is a good idea for two reasons. First, fundamentalism emerged, and has thrived, as a counter-cultural movement. This is true of most religious movements. If you allow it into the mainstream, one of its primary fuels (the moral fervor that comes from being an oppressed movement) will wither. Second, you force people to defend their theologically based public policy agendas with rational argument.....which won't work out well, as Rev. Robertson demonstrated.