Thursday, August 5, 2010

Read Stuff, You Should

I've been tinkering a bit with the format for my version of the tab dump (and go ahead and skip down a paragraph if you don't want some meandering).  When I started doing this, I had so little traffic that I basically felt embarrassed to be offering links to the handful of people who stopped by, who surely didn't need me to tell them that Matt Yglesias or TNC said something worth reading.  So I tried a gimmicky introduction, which is neither here nor there, plus decided to do this relatively rarely, thus giving links to things that everyone knew about a few days ago but might not have gotten around to then.  This way, I could offer a little nudge of a reminder.  I warned you, I'm meandering a of the astonishing things about the blogs (and the wider web) is just how much good stuff is out there.  Far more than anyone can read.  And a lot of it, if it doesn't catch fire (that is, get linked a lot) right away, just disappears.  Hmmmm....that sort of suggests that one way to do the tab dump is to really hold it off, to have a one-month lag -- collect the links, read them again a month later, and then post the ones still worth reading.  I haven't gone that far (but really, I think it's a good idea, if someone is looking for their own gimmick), but I do post things that are a week or so old.   Anyway, for now I'm keeping that part of it, but I'm playing around with the intro gimmick.  If anyone has any suggestions about what would be useful to you, please let me know! 

OK, on to business.  To start with, I'm going to argue with No More Mister Nice Blog's Steve M., who mistakenly called Newt Gingrich a rube yesterday, on account of Newt being overly impressed with the 13-story building that will hold the "Ground Zero Mosque."  "Newt? I've got news for you. This isn't some outer-ring suburb of Atlanta. This is New York. A 13-story building is no big whoop here."  I'm afraid this is a serious misunderstanding of Newt Gingrich.  He's not a rube from the Atlanta suburbs; he's a fraud, a snake-oil salesman from Pennsylvania who has spent plenty of time in the big city (I assume, but don't know, that his primary residence is in the DC area).  I don't think for a minute that Newt Gingrich doesn't know what the area around Ground Zero is like.  That's just the huckster in him talking.  But he's no rube.

OK, on to the good stuff:

1. Hope about a little health care.  Austin Frakt on cost containment (also available over at Citizen Cohn, where he and I are guest-blogging yesterday and today -- thanks to Jonathan Cohn for the gig!); Emma Sandoe on the latest public option push.  As regular readers know, I think the public option has a bright future if Democrats avoid electoral disaster.

2.  Budget: I'm going to link to Ezra Klein's interview with Rep. Paul Ryan mainly to mention that Klein's interview posts are consistently excellent; I think they tend to be a bit underappreciated  because they're long, but he really has a flair for the format. 

3.  Yglesias on secrecy   Also Steven Aftergood, on classified information after Wikileaks.

4.  Several people were good on this topic, but the one you want is Steve M

5.  Parties and nominations, anyone?  Seth Masket on parties that make mistakes, and  Marc Ambinder on how the Sage of Wasilla is handling the invisible primary.

6.  Adam Serwer on drugs (and prisons).

7.  Serwer again.  Gonna leave this one blind.  It's short.

8. Immigration: Mark Thompson argues for open borders

9. I highly recommend the back-and-forth between Jim Manzi, Mark Kleiman, and Manzi again about, roughly, what social sciences can or cannot contribute to public policy. 

10. I don't know whether I started reading The Hotline from Day 1, but I know I was reading it during its first election cycle, in 1987-1988.  I haven't always had access to it, but I've read it on and off for over twenty years, and five presidencies.  I can't think of a single complaint I've ever had.  Just a wonderful, wonderful item, from a simple-but-terrific idea to first-rate execution, to quality standards that kept the thing at the top of its game from generation to generation of staff.  Politico, appropriately enough, sings its praises while burying it.  Of course, The Hotline isn't dead, and I'm rooting for whatever the new Hotline turns out to be.  The truth is, however, that time has probably passed the old, original, Hotline by.  Good luck to everyone involved with the new, 21st century Hotline,   And most of all, a hearty thank you to everyone who gave us Hotline for so many great years.  Well done, all.


  1. Re Newt Gingrich: you're right that he's a huckster, but he was born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, which wasn't exactly packed with skyscrapers when he was there.

    For that matter, D.C. has very few buildings significantly taller than the proposed Islamic center.

  2. All true, but...c'mon. Do you really think that he's mistakenly overly impressed with such a tall building? Or do you think that, perhaps, that he's perfectly aware of what Manhattan looks like, but just finds it convenient to act as if 13 stories is really, really, big? IOW, do you really think he's a rube, or is he just playing the role of one for the cameras?

  3. Hi, Jonathan, long-time reader, first time commenter. Congratulations on the year anniversary btw.

    Anyway, I wanted to offer comment on the first graf above (I haven't read the links yet). I've been culling my starred items from the Google Reader. I had over 2000 starred items going back to 2007 when I first started using the RSS feed. It's a chore but I've found the experience to be really worthwhile. For one thing, it's offered me the opportunity to see which topics and styles of argument I've found useful or interesting enough to save for future (re-)reading.

    Another thing it's offered me is insight on how something I found really interesting in July has lost its X-factor by August. Sometimes that's because it was news-of-the-moment news. Sometimes its because a later analysis made the initial one irrelevant or uninteresting.

    This a long way of saying that, if you can manage holding off on good links for a month, only later to remind your readers why it may have more lasting significance (and perchance tell us what that significance is) I think it's a great idea.

    Part of my own blogging has done just this, finding a Michael Tomasky prediction, for example, and seeing if it's come to pass and offering commentary on why or why not. Future posts will do something similar. An "it's old but still relevant so let's have a go at a revisitation." sort of thing.

  4. do you really think he's a rube, or is he just playing the role of one for the cameras?

    Well, both. He senses what will play in Bugtussle because he's got a bit of Bugtussle in him.

  5. Damn, Steve M. beat me to my point of DC not actually having any truly tall buildings!

  6. In a small way, I was one of the people who helped bring you Hotline over the years.


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