I usually start with something that I recommend not reading, but today I have something a bit different -- an article that I found totally baffling. It's the article from the Sunday NYT, by Timothy Williams, about reconstruction in Iraq. Here, I'll even break normal format and supply a link. What I found baffling about it was there's a lot of he said, she said, with very little way for the reader to guess at what's going on. Should we trust Iraqi officials that things are really bad, or the Army that things are actually not so bad at all. Neither seems to be a very reliable source to me, without some more tangible evidence. If things are bad, is it because the US is rushing to leave? Because security is still terrible? Because of long-term corruption (and if so, is it the Iraqis, the US military, someone else, or some combination)? Is this a Bush-era story, an Obama-era story, or both? Perhaps there are cues here that I'm missing, but I read the thing twice, and I'm just confused about what I'm supposed to take away from it.
OK, on to the good stuff.
1. Matt Yglesias makes a strong case for non-expertise in blogging (of course, Yglesias makes that case every day without explaining it; he's awful good. But here he explains it).
2. Brad DeLong fights against the invisible bond market vigilantes in clear, simple, language. Nicholas Beaudrot prefers pictures.
3. Harry Reid: underrated pol.
4. Ross Douthat is worth reading about the "don't touch anything" budget, whether or not you agree with his conclusions. The current law baseline really isn't a viable option (AMT, doc fix).
5. Marc Ambinder clears up an Inaugural mystery.
6. A double shot of TNC.
7. Conor Friedersdorf takes apart Jonah Goldberg.
8. Some political scientists (Seth Masket and Joshua Tucker) seem to have too much time on their hands. After you see what they do with it, learn something about how your brain works.