Archive for April, 2004

“They know only violence”

April 19, 2004

Kevin Drum points to a post by Matthew Yglesias about the stereotype that Arabs understand only violence and compulsion.

Sad to say, it is an old stereotype…

[A] host of preconceived inherited notions about the Algerian were accepted uncritically [by the French settlers of the 1950s], without examining either their veracity or causation: he was incorrigibly idle and incompetent; he only understood force; he was an innate criminal, and an instinctive rapist.

Alistair Horne, A Savage War of Peace: Algeria 1954-1962; New York: Viking, 1978 [1977]; pg. 54


Doubts about the Iraq plan

April 16, 2004

Key elements of the Bush administration’s plan for the aftermath of the Second Gulf War have now been publicly questioned by the man I voted for in the 1996 primaries and the man I voted for in the 2000 primaries.

If only anyone else in the GOP would listen…

Thursday evening at El Rey

April 16, 2004

I strongly recommend the Cuban sandwich at El Rey Taqueria (we went to the one at Main and Congress, but they have other Houston locations). And if you can buy it take-out, and go to a nearby pub to wash it down with a glass of Shiraz, then all the better.

Tonight’s Presidential press conference

April 13, 2004

As I listened to the President tonight on the radio, I was struck by the laziness of his performance; how unprepared he was to answer the most predictable questions with anything more than a rambling string of platitudes.

I agree with most of the President’s platitudes. I’m glad he reminded Americans of the basic reasons why we supported sending troops to liberate Iraq.

But he needed to do something more. He needed to explain why what is happening in Iraq is not what his administration told us would happen. He needed to talk about why we were not prepared for what did happen; or, at least, tell us how we will become better prepared.

He did none of these things. He doesn’t seem to understand that it is not enough for him to talk in generalities. He has taken our country to war to liberate Iraq, and Iraq has not been liberated. We expect him to deliver what our men and women paid for in blood, or else explain why the mission has not been accomplished. He failed us. Again.

I had hoped to hear a leader tonight. What I heard was Tommy Smothers with a Texas accent.

The Browns strike again

April 12, 2004

As a former resident of Ohio, I can tell you that Cleveland Browns fans deserve their reputation for pitiless fanaticism (however much the continued survival of Art Modell might seem to belie it).

But I have to say that, though it looks daft to outsiders, the Browns are doing the right thing to fire Ron Wolf. The fact is: The Browns have not won a single game while Wolf has been in their employ. That’s the bottom line in football, and there’s no sense in being sentimental about it.

Walking music: Squeeze

April 12, 2004

I usually bring a CD along when I take a long walk (I used to bring a paperback, until I realized that that was why my hands were so cramped when I got home). Depending on my mood, I bring one of three kinds of music: folky pop (like mid-’60s Bob Dylan), jazzy pop (like Steely Dan), or jaunty pop (like the Turtles).

For some reason, I had never thought until recently to burn CDs with the songs I wanted in the order I wanted them. At the risk of starting out slightly rough, I’ve chosen to take my first stab at sequencing with the music of Squeeze:


The Amazon primary, as of April 10

April 10, 2004

Since February 3, John Kerry has collected $100,420 in the Amazon primary, while George W. Bush has collected $24,248.

Since March 23, the Kerry advantage has been $23,678 to $4,027.

One year on

April 10, 2004

To my regret, this doubt has turned out to be prescient.

Living in the wake of Ronald Reagan, we forget that conservatism is not an unwavering optimism in an ideology; rather, it is a regrettable prescience—a sense of tragedy—about what people will and will not do, and about the limits of human good intentions.