Monday, November 2, 2015

In Which We Discuss The Scripting Of Debates

Since Kennedy destroyed Nixon in the 1960 Presidential Debate (unless you were listening on the radio, in which case Nixon smashed Kennedy) a great deal of thought has gone into how debates are structured and the subtle details thereof.  Rarely, however, do we get a behind-the-scenes look at how that process works.  At the time of this writing the major contenders for the Republican Presidential Nomination are engaged in a lengthy primary battle and debates are a big part of that; problems with the debate format, and in particular the most recent CNBC debate, have sparked a campaign-revolt against the RNC on the subject of debates.

This morning a letter from Ben Ginsberg, who has been tapped to help the campaign negotiate collectively (an irony that should not go unobserved, given the fervently anti-union position of everyone involved), was leaked to the public.  The letter enumerates the demands that the campaigns wish to make and, while some items are more obvious than others, taken as a whole it reveals a great deal about the debate process and how debates are viewed from within the political machines they serve.  You can find the full letter here at the Washington Post, but I wanted to go through the demands themselves to explore the meaning behind the requests.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

On Confederate Flags

Since the shooting of nine parishioners in a church in South Carolina by a self-avowed white supremacist earlier this month a great deal has been said and written on the subject of the Confederate Flag and its place in American - and particularly Southern - culture.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Unambiguously Wrong

Daniel W Drezner, a fellow at the Brookings Institution, penned a solid "big picture" piece on the cartwheeling fireball of catastrophic failure that has been the GOP's ongoing attempts to meddle in foreign policy since winning the Senate in the 2014 elections.  The piece is, as I said, really quite good and I strongly recommend it, but one sentence jumped out at me in particular.
"It takes real effort for people, such as Les Gelb, David Ignatius, Fred Kaplan, Richard Haass, Phil Zelikow et al, to get off their bipartisan fence and blast one party for acting recklessly on foreign policy — and yet Sen. Tom Cotton’s letter has managed to pull it off."

Tuesday, March 10, 2015


In January of 2003 an unnamed White House source was quoted as saying the following: "[President Bush] considers this nation to be at war, and, as such, considers any opposition to his policies to be no less than an act of treason."

How far we have come.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Why do liberals think banning guns will end violence?

I wrote the following in response to a massively down-voted AskReddit post and figured I may as well repost here:

Liberals, writ large, don't all want to ban guns but they do want differing degrees of restriction upon them so I see where you're coming from with the "ban" language; a ban in whole or in part is still a ban. Likewise, while such a "ban" likely won't "stop" violence completely it may significantly reduce it which is another "in whole or in part" type thing. These linguistic quibbles matter because, as we are about to see, this issue isn't as terribly simple as many would like it to be.

So why do I think stricter gun control will reduce violence?