Political Animal

Late Night Rant

LATE NIGHT RANT….This isn’t directed at anybody in particular, but can I just say that I’m getting really, really tired of hawkish bloggers who self-righteously chastise “anti-war liberals” for not posting daily about the crappy situation in Iran, the Congo, Burma, Zimbabwe, or whatever the godforsaken shithole of the day is?

I realize that blogging is by nature a bunch of ordinary folks spouting off on topics they know little about, but do you really think that we should all be blathering on forever about the political/cultural/religious/whatever aspects of small countries we don’t know anything about?

Take Iran, for instance. I’ve been reading about Iran for a couple of decades now, and for at least the past ten years I’ve also been reading about their restive students, their tiny sprouts of democracy, and the conflict between the moderates and the hardliners. So who should I be rooting for? Frankly, their “moderates” have never sounded especially moderate to me, and my recollection is that Iranian students held a bunch of Americans hostage for a while back in 1980, so it’s hard to have an awful lot of sympathy for them. Still, I’ll grant that moderate is a relative term, and perhaps the students have changed some, and in any case how much worse can things get? So root for the students I shall.

But, really, I don’t really know jack about Iran, or about any of those other countries, other than the fact that they are all lousy, brutal dictatorships and I would be delighted to see them under new management as soon as possible.

So if you want to blog about these places, that’s great. If you post good stuff, I’ll read it and thank you for the insights. But quit trying to score sophomoric debating points by carping about what other people choose to write about.


(Yeah, bad mood. What I’m really pissed about, I guess, is yet another court ruling telling us that it’s perfectly OK for the government of my country to act exactly like one of those third world dictatorships mentioned above and secretly detain anyone it wants. Just say the magic words “national security” and apparently they can do pretty much anything they feel like.

But, you know, what if some of these suspects aren’t actually guilty of anything? As Jim Henley says, “The question is not ‘Do terrorists deserve the same rights as ordinary criminals?’ The question is ‘Are terrorist suspects terrorists?'”

That’s precisely right, and it’s the whole point of a free and open judicial system. If these guys are guilty, then deport away. But maybe they aren’t. The problem is, we’ll never know, will we?)

Sports Break

SPORTS BREAK….Bizarrely enough, the comments to this post degenerated into a discussion of the merits of the designated hitter rule in baseball. I myself finally lost interest in baseball after the last strike, but before that happened I came around on the DH rule and am now pretty much in favor of it.

Actually, the only thing I’m really against is the idea of having different rules in different leagues. Let’s either have a DH or not. And while we’re at it, umps ought to call the strike zone the same in both leagues too.

In other sports related news, Gregg Easterbrook says:

Hockey and basketball are done; the Triple Crown, Indy 500 and the Open are past. Now comes the deadest, dullest six weeks in the annual sports calendar — nothing but baseball until August, when the NFL resumes.

What the heck is he talking about? Wimbledon is right around the corner!

CDs and Gay Marriage

CDs AND GAY MARRIAGE….Tyler Cowen owns “at least” 5000 CDs. That’s a lot, isn’t it? On the generous assumption that he started collecting CDs the very moment they first became available (1983), that means he’s been buying an average of 250 CDs a year for the past two decades. On a more realistic assumption that his CD buying has increased over the years, this means that he buys about one CD per day nowadays.

When does he find time to listen to them all?

On a more substantive note, Eugene Volokh has an interesting post about whether or not a Canadian gay marriage would be recognized in the United States. The answer is: maybe.