The debt-ceiling fight is about politics, not policy. But
count on the news media to conflate the two—in service of the trope that everyone just needs to meet in the middle of wherever they
are right now.
One of the most interesting posts on Middle East expert Juan
Cole's extensive blog is his advice
to fledgling Arab democracies on how to build a democracy. He bases his advice
on ten mistakes that he thinks Americans have made in the formation and
perpetuation of our democracy.
A new Century editorial argues that unemployment, not the budget deficit,
is the most urgent economic problem facing the U.S. We need to deal with the
deficit at some point, but first we need to get people back to work by
stimulating the economy.
"In these tough times, Americans are tightening their belts—and their
government needs to do the same." This bipartisan applause line is pithy, full of populist empathy and easy to
understand. It's also exactly wrong.
The national parks are rightly considered some of America’s great treasures, but their history is not as serene as their landscapes. A year after the Battle of Gettysburg, President Lincoln deeded Yosemite Valley to the state of California, to be maintained for public use for all time. Lincoln hoped these “magnificent lands . . . might offer a unifying peace for a divided nation.” But before Yosemite could be turned into a park for public use, the Ahwahneechee, its native inhabitants, had to be driven out. Similar wars of removal were conducted at the end of the 19th century at the sites of Glacier and Yellowstone parks (Times Literary Supplement, September 2).