Links, 12/1/09

  • Megan McArdle, “Will the Former Politicians Please Shut the Hell Up?” – I don’t agree with McArdle here about Cheney, but I certainly feel the way she does to a degree. His comments help people who are willing to throw any and every charge against the President until something sticks. Needless to say, those people aren’t accountable for anything: only one person (and country) loses in this “fight.” Still, I think VP Cheney had to and should attack the Obama administration all he wants. The whining about the Bush years has been incessant, and the media has given President Obama a pass on many things that it would have slammed Bush on. McArdle is correct about the general principle; I’m pretty sure like there’s a warranted exception in this case (also: there’s no comparison between Cheney and Jimmy Carter. Disagreements with Cheney don’t discount his competence.)
  • Charles Johnson, “Why I Parted Ways with the Right” – I don’t agree with the characterization on some small points (i.e. the anti-abortion hyperbole). But he’s exactly right about the racism, conspiracy theories, hatred of the President, outright fascism, anti-abortion terrorism… the list goes on. I think if one is a conservative one has to be willing to disagree with LGF on some points but take his critique seriously. He – almost alone –  has been documenting just how insane some parts of the Right have become, and to ignore that documentation is to give help to some very bad people implicitly.
  • “Sailors report footing bill for needs on ships,” Navy Times (h/t David) – pretty self-explanatory, and very problematic.
  • Amy Alkon Talks Manners in “I See Rude People” (h/t – from the article: Q: What do you think is at the root of good manners? A: Empathy. That feeling that says, ‘Am I bothering you?’ Unless you stumbled onto a moon crater, chances are you’re on Earth, not on the moon, and there are a lot of people who will be bothered by your loud conversation on your cell phone. So think about what you’re doing that’s offending people or stopping them from sleeping.
  • Sam Tanenhaus, “Andre Agassi’s Hate of the Game” – It looks like Open – An Autobiography might be that rarest of celebrity recountings: important. From the article: The more arresting news is that “Open” is one of the most passionately anti-sports books ever written by a superstar athlete — bracingly devoid of triumphalist homily and star-spangled gratitude. Agassi’s announced theme is that the game he mastered was a prison he spent some 30 years trying to escape. His first cell was the backyard court his immigrant father, Mike, built behind the family’s ramshackle house in the parched outskirts of Las Vegas. Armenian, raised poor in Iran and employed as a “captain,” or usher, at a casino on the Strip, Mike Agassi was determined to groom a champion and subjected all four of his children to abusive training, yanking them out of school for extra practice time. The three eldest all crumbled under the pressure.
  • Ario Farin, “Wherever you are (ii)” – read the whole thing. Excerpt: When I am here, I am asked where I was born, which makes me Iranian in most Germans’ eyes. But I grew up on Gouda and hagelslag, among endless meadows squared by razor-thin ditches and under an ever changing sky.


  1. Ashok: re: the Charles Johnson stuff, what exactly do you propose the right do to get rid of all the crazies? I mean, maybe he feels comfortable parting ways with the right, but I know that I certainly don’t. Many of us – good people all – are not going anywhere, and it is terrible that this means being associated with the racism, fascism, etc. that you point out.

    The problem as I see it is that the more sane elements of the movement have been willing to countenance the crazies for the mere fact that the umbrella of the party cannot be constricted any more than it already is. That, and the fringe of the party doesn’t seem to fit anywhere, and we are somehow the closest thing to their ‘vision’ of the country (probably, at the least, by way of limited government/low taxes).

    If nobody among us is willing to move left, then how exactly do these alliances work out? It isn’t even like one has to be a wishy-washy moderate to be a legitimate voice: I’d consider myself hyper-conservative, and share none of those bitter sentiments that the fringe does.

    I just believe that ‘hope’ is something for religion – not politics – and that the American people aren’t made of cotton candy. Self-government in its most basic terms is a reality for most of us out here. Of course there are people who need the helping hand of government, but this group constitutes a minority of the citizens, and I don’t think it is wise to build policy based on the parenthesis; exceptions can always be made.

    Some have said that if only the Republicans would become an exclusively ‘country first’ party and would drop the values/limited govt hoo-rah, everything would be fine. I don’t know.

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