Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Read Stuff, You Should

Happy Birthday to Martha Johnson, 62. Allmusic rates Danseparc higher than Metro Music...I think that's right. An excellent band at their best.

Meanwhile, lots of good stuff:

1. Gun control: the Australian experience. Will Oremus reports.

2. Conor Friedersdorf argues that Barack Obama should be more intent on rewarding original opponents of the Iraq War -- in order to establish a better incentive structure the next time around.

3. Dan Drezner: against bubbles.

4. People get stuff wrong. Especially when there's a lot going on. It's a thing. People should know about it. From Colbert King.

5. Speaking of which...a really smart post about the fiscal cliff  negotiations, or at least the reported negotiations, from Matt Yglesias.

6. And here comes the ACA. Sarah Kliff has details.


  1. Add to King's list of mistakes about Newtown that the police spokesman, Lieutenant Vance, was himself repeatedly identified as Lieutenant Colonel Vance.

    Also keep in mind that the crime site in Newtown has remained fully under the control of investigating authorities, whereas in Benghazi all U.S. officials left for Tripoli that night.

  2. 1) Not only are shotguns and handguns unattainable by average Australians, but the possession of any gun for purposes of self defense is illegal. The Australian policy is untenable in the US because even most Democrats wouldn’t support it.

    2) Wish there wasn’t a pay wall on that one.

    3) Interesting point by Friedersdorf, but I think he gets some things a bit backwards. I wouldn’t call into question the honesty of Obama’s Iraq position, but his ability to courageously take a controversial stand was never proven. When he actually took the position against the Iraq war, he was a state senator with no national profile. It might be the case that it was easier for him to be against the Iraq war simply because he wasn’t a national political figure. Had he been subject to the same political pressures as Edwards and Kerry, perhaps he would have had the same position.

    I’m sure Friedersdorf would agree that Obama hasn’t exactly bucked the Washington consensus on defense policy. For that reason, I don’t think he’s the slightest bit surprised that Obama has also failed to reward anti-war Democrats (he’s actually making a rhetorical point here).

    The real lesson is this -- before we assume moral courage on the part of a candidate, we should first evaluate how easy it was for him or her to voice the opinions at the time. If you want a true anti-war maverick, choose some national figure with a significant track record of actually being one. Otherwise your President is just going to go with the flow, making decisions within the narrow confines of a preexisting policy consensus.


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