Here is something that really ticks me off. People in the media, like Cokie Roberts in this video, and David Brooks in the New York Times, justify asking candidates stupid and inane questions because, according to Cokie, "these are the kinds of questions that will come up in the general election." Notice the use of the passive voice there. Do the questions ask themselves? Will a bush burst into flames and a booming voice ask Senator Obama "WHERE IS YOUR FLAG LAPEL PIN?" Cokie Roberts uses the passive voice to hide the fact that the media is the one that decides the questions will arise in the general campaign. If she was honest, what she would say is "we are justified in asking dumb questions in the primary, because we plan on asking dumb questions in the general election too." Paul Waldman makes the same point at the Prospect.
Some guy in prison in Texas is going to be on the ballot in Idaho's Democratic presidential primary, just by paying $1000 and taking advantage of stupid officials.
Here are some awesome pictures courtesy of the EPA's photo contest for Earth Day.
Via Kevin Drum, apparently there is a newer new left, made up of:
...about a new breed of liberal writers who have emerged on the web—a network of writers who are bringing together reformism and idealism in a way we haven't seen in many years. I'm thinking of people like Joshua Micah Marshall (the man behind Talking Points Memo); Eric Alterman, the Nation columnist, author of many books, and blogger for Media Matters for America; Ezra Klein (The American Prospect); Kevin Drum (the Washington Monthly); Glenn Greenwald (Salon); Matthew Yglesias (the Atlantic); Bob Somerby (the Daily Howler); Rick Perlstein (the Campaign for America's Future); and the writer who goes by the name of Digby who blogs for her own website, digbysblog.
This Congressional Quarterly story by Jeff Stein is, according to Google News, literally THE ONLY story on the ongoing Italian trial of twenty-six American CIA agents for kidnapping (here's the Wikipedia article on it). The only thing more amazing than the story itself is the total lack of interest from the American press.
Andrew Exum writes in the Guardian on the difference between McCain, Clinton and Obama on defense, and specifically on how they view counterinsurgency. More Iraq and Afghanistan veterans have contributed to Obama than either McCain or Hillary.
This is a ten minute video, courtesy of Ghosts of Alexander, that perfectly highlights what Kalyvas calls the core/periphery cleavage in civil war. Two villages are on opposite sides of the Taliban/Government split, not necessarily because of ideology, but because they've had a historic rivalry. The microfoundations of conflict.