Sunday, July 27, 2008

Sunday roundup of interesting things

God, am I ever tired.

1. Contrasts:

Two months ago in the Oval Office, President George W. Bush, coming to the end of a two-term presidency and presumably
as expert on Israeli-Palestinian policy as he is ever going to be, was
accompanied by a team of no fewer than five advisers and spokespeople during a
40-minute interview with this writer and three other Israeli journalists.

In March, on his whirlwind visit to Israel, Republican presidential nominee
John McCain, one of whose primary strengths is said to be his intimate grasp of
foreign affairs, chose to bring along Sen. Joe Lieberman to the interview our
diplomatic correspondent Herb Keinon and I conducted with him, looked to
Lieberman several times for reassurance on his answers and seemed a little
flummoxed by a question relating to the nuances of settlement construction.

On Wednesday evening, toward the end of his packed one-day visit here,
Barack Obama, the Democratic senator who is leading the race for the White House
and who lacks long years of foreign policy involvement, spoke to The Jerusalem
Post with only a single aide in his King David Hotel room, and that aide's sole
contribution to the conversation was to suggest that the candidate and I switch
seats so that our photographer would get better lighting for his pictures.

2. Read Frank Rich.

3. Steve Benen on McCain's incoherent economic "plans":

Douglas Holtz-Eakin, McCain’s chief economic adviser, told Slate, “[McCain]
has certainly I’m sure said things in town halls” that don’t jibe perfectly with
his written plan. But that doesn’t mean it’s official.”

Got that? If we want to better understand John McCain’s economic
policies, we should overlook what John McCain says about his economic policies.
McCain’s “official” positions don’t come from McCain.

4. This study finds that while Obama has received more media coverage in recent weeks than McCain, he is generally covered more negatively. Such a conclusion would come as a surprise to most right-wingers convinced of the liberal bias of the mainstream media, but it's no surprise to myself and others who have been chronicling the free ride that McCain has gotten.

5. Read Bob Herbert too.

6. The NDP have suddenly discovered that their inner free market capitalist. No carbon tariffs (to be placed on imports from high-polluting countries), they argue, since they'll just invite court battles and expensive litigation.

Adam Radwanski thinks they only oppose it because it's the Liberals proposing it. Perhaps if the NDP had more to offer than kneejerk and irrational opposition to any policy idea that they aren't responsible for, they'd no longer be a permanent third party.

In any case, carbon tariffs are not the greatest economic policy, but they are pretty good environmental policy. It's a good way to reward domestic producers who do hold to some carbon standards while encouraging other countries to improve theirs. But it's certainly not something that will help the economy over the short term. Really, all these bold environmental plans are hard sells, because none of them are great for the economy. And the health of the economy is something that is foremost in many voters' minds.

7. Oh boy, creationists in Texas are trying to advance a new "weak-evolution curriculum" for high schoolers. Come on, Texas, I'm rootin' for ya! You can be the new Stupidest State!

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