That student part especially makes me feel really good.
[T]he damage from sustained high unemployment will last much longer. The long-term unemployed can lose their skills, and even when the economy recovers they tend to have difficulty finding a job, because they’re regarded as poor risks by potential employers. Meanwhile, students who graduate into a poor labor market start their careers at a huge disadvantage — and pay a price in lower earnings for their whole working lives. Failure to act on unemployment isn’t just cruel, it’s short-sighted.
So it’s time for an emergency jobs program.
Monday, November 30, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Take the scarce resources now being wasted on drumming out of the military competent, patriotic Americans who happen to be gay and instead focus them on people posing actual threats.Not much to add to that.
Monday, November 23, 2009
Saturday, November 21, 2009
As I noted earlier, I think the process will take far longer. It does not help that Afghanistan is currently ranked the 2nd most corrupt government in the world, trailing only Somalia. Without a credible government, the US could send 100,000 more troops and still fail in Afghanistan. COIN folks from Gen. McChrystal to David Kilcullen have said that more troops will help, but there's no guarantee that they can bring victory.
Senator McCain may be relying on memory of the Iraq surge, and its success. Several factors make that a faulty comparison.
- As flawed as the Iraqi government was, it still had a far more organized and effective military and police force.
- The "Accidental Guerrilla" phenomenon that Kilcullen wrote about was actually backfiring in Iraq. The "Sunni Awakening" and backlash against AQI*, as well as Muqtada al-Sadr's decision to ask his militia to at least temporarily stand down were both almost the opposite of what is happening in Afghanistan.
- Contentious parts of Iraq like Baghdad had been almost entirely ethnically cleansed by the time the surge took effect. Sunnis and Shi'ites were no longer living in the same areas, and violence went down as a result.
- Iraq had neighbors that, not to put too fine a point on it, were not Pakistan. It is news to nobody that insurgents cross between Afghanistan and Pakistan at will. This makes it incredibly hard to defeat the insurgency in Afghanistan.
- Iraq and Afghanistan are very different places, culturally. Iraq, for all the faults of the Hussein regime, was a secular and modern state in the Middle East. Afghanistan is far less modern, far more tribal, and certainly not as secular (a Taliban government saw to that).
*Al Qaeda in Iraq
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
Interesting point. Thoughts?
A longstanding meme says that America is unitary and decisive, while Europe is divided and ineffectual. How many more issues need to go the way of cap-and-trade before that meme gets reversed? And, while we're talking about the Senate's function as a vital stray monkey-wrench to prevent the gears of democracy from functioning too smoothly, we might as well link to Grist's David Roberts: "How 7.4% of Americans can block humanity’s efforts to save itself".
Saturday, November 14, 2009
"Containment was a very costly strategy," [Paul] Wolfowitz said years later. "It cost us billions of dollars--estimates are around $30 billion."REALLY?!
Current estimated cost of the Iraq war: $699bn
I mean REALLY!
"It cost us American lives. We lost American lives in the Khobar Towers"--a huge 1996 bombing in Saudi Arabia that killed 19 service members and wounded 372 others.
Since the war with Iraq began, we've lost 4,362 service members.
I mean REALLY!
"In some ways the price is much higher than that. The real price was giving Osama bin Laden his principle talking point. If you go back and read his notorious fatwa from 1998, where he called for the first time for killing Americans, his big complaint is that we have American troops on the holy soil of Saudi Arabia and that we're bombing Iraq. That was his big recruiting device, his big claim against us."
So clearly, the answer is to increase troop numbers exponentially and actually invade Iraq. Surely that won't give bin Laden any recruiting material. How many new terrorists did we create out of the family members of the untold hundreds of thousands of Iraqis that have died in the violence since our invasion?
That whole thing could have been read as a damning indictment of further involvement in the Middle East. Unfortunately, it was written by one of the foremost (if not THE foremost) advocate for regime change in the Bush administration. I don't know what to say. Except...
(For those of you who don't know who Amy Poeller and Seth Myers are: here.)
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
The country faces a fundamental disconnect between the services the people expect the government to provide, particularly in the form of benefits for older Americans, and the tax revenues that people are willing to send to the government to finance those services.
That's about as accurate and succinct as it gets.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Of course, most U.S. Muslims don't shoot up their fellow soldiers. Fine. As soon as Muslims give us a foolproof way to identify their jihadis from their moderates, we'll go back to allowing them to serve. You tell us who the ones are that we have to worry about, prove you're right, and Muslims can once again serve. Until that day comes, we simply cannot afford the risk. You invent a jihadi-detector that works every time it's used, and we'll welcome you back with open arms.
This is not Islamophobia, it is Islamo-realism....
That right there was why I had this sudden feeling of dread as soon as I saw the name of the Major who committed this massacre.
Monday, November 9, 2009
Thursday, November 5, 2009
First, eliminate the word "marriage" from all federal, state and local laws. Marriage is a religious concept, and should stay away from government. If you want to be "married", you can go to a church, whether you are a homosexual or heterosexual couple. (There are a few churches out there that will marry gay couples, and hopefully that number will grow as time goes on.) Second, allow civil unions for all couples, gay or straight, that convey the same rights, tax breaks, and whatever else that marriage gives currently.
I have a hard time accepting a religious argument in regards to federal laws. The establishment clause of the First Amendment is there for a reason. If you remove the religious argument from same-sex marriage, pretty much the only arguments left are those based in bigotry.