-The government of Uzbekistan -- which we're friendly with for some reason -- murders protestors like it's nothing. Cunning Realist takes note of the hypocrisy of the US calling for "restraint"....from the protestors, not the government.
-Found an interesting page yesterday: The Philosophers' Magazine "ethics portal". Click if you wanna get deep.
-After seeing Matt Yglesias & Kevin Drum consider knuckling under on the 10 Commandments issue, Julian Sanchez makes the opposing case, arguing that by defining the boundaries of church&state issues further back, we also define how far religious-statists go to break it:
I remember an old parenting manual I flipped through many years ago, about setting boundaries. The idea was that teens are always going to push whatever limits you set as a way of asserting their autonomy, so there's something to be said for being a little stricter than you actually think is necessary—better junior be able to rebel by breaking an early curfew than by shooting heroin.
Whatever the merits of that approach as a parenting strategy, I think there's something to be said for it in this arena. I'd rather the church/state separation fights be over a creche on the lawn at city hall — a fight I could live with losing —than about something more serious. And, on a related but semi-distinct note, I think there's a value to keeping a pretty high wall even on these more trivial matters because it reinforces the idea that while our broader culture may be deeply religious in many ways, our public, political culture is not. (emphasis mine)
Lemme break from this theme here to insert my two cents for a moment. I agree wholeheartedly with the logic behind it, but at the same time I think we also need to be careful that the same thing isn't adopted the other direction. If they start thinking "push for a yard and we'll get at least a foot"...
Then again, who am I kidding. They're already pushing for a yard.
-PEW did research on what's actually behind the whole "red & blue"/oh-we're-so-polarized garbage the media trots out. Findings aren't surprising. To summarize (my interpretation): Democrats have frightened the "middle" into leaning -- or even voting -- Republican; what defines the two "majors" isn't "cultural issues" nor the proper scope of the State, but foreign policy; and as usual the national pastime is contradiction.
-As you fellow netheads have probably heard by now, and the average citizen probably has no idea about, Bush is pushing a new international trade agreement, its nifty acronym being "CAFTA" -- Central American Free Trade Agreement.
My preliminary thoughts on it? I dunno really. I tried to get a full text & came up at the US Trade Representative's website. Unfortunately, the act is apparently so long that it's a humongeous series of PDFs which I don't have the time to download.
And that's coming from someone who's such a dedicated poli-nerd that I download entire releases from thinktanks for later reading...
All I have now is my principles: if it actually clears out restraints on trade, leading us closer to being able to buy anything from anyone & sell anything to anyone with no "guidance" by the State, then I'm for it; if it merely erodes sovereignty by forcing a one-size-fits-all regime of regulations & shields businesses against the risks inherent in a free-market, then put me down for a No vote. Anyone out there who has access to an explanation of CAFTA that is fairly detailed yet not ridiculously huge & fragmented (I'm on dialup, so anything over 10MBs and/or 6 seperate files is a no-no), so I can formulate an actual opinion of it, give a holler.