Posts from February 26, 2005



: David Galbraith gets a preview of Ev’s Odeo Podcast service. Loves it.

Democracy spreads… to Egypt now

Democracy spreads… to Egypt now

: Big news from Egypt: Hosni Mubarek is opening the first multicandidate (read: real) elections:

President Hosni Mubarak opened the door on Saturday to multi-candidate presidential polls in Egypt, a dramatic move welcomed by Washington and opposition groups as a step toward more open government.

Analysts described his televised announcement, heralding the first contested polls since the 1952 fall of the monarchy, as a response to both U.S. reform calls and an increasingly vocal domestic opposition, emboldened by Washington. Cairo is uneasy about U.S. campaigning for democratic change in the region….

State Department spokesman Steven Pike welcomed the development, which came a day after Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice postponed a visit to Egypt.

Even Armando at Daily Kos graciously annoints this good news: “The Bush Administration will feel, and with some justification, a measure of satisfaction.” He continues to ask Eeyore cautious questions about how good the election will be. Of course, there is much work ahead. American officials are officially cautious, as well they should be. (UPDATE: Poliblogger adds more cautions.) Hell, the most likely opponent was jailed (more here). Egypt is hardly enlightened overnight. But the pressure of the people and what’s happening in the neighborhood and from America — witness Condi’s cancelled trip — is being felt. It’s a step.





Democracy is spreading. Democracy must spread.

: Haaretz, too, sees good news here:

Something “dangerous” is happening to public opinion in several Arab countries: It is beginning to chalk up more and more victories. Last week, the Lebanese public pushed Syria to announce its intention to withdraw from Lebanon. Last year, Saudi public opinion and American pressure generated a public discussion of human rights in the monarchy. And yesterday, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak laid the foundation for Egypt’s democratic revolution, no less.

: LATER: I at first called Aramando’s questions Eeyore questions. That wasn’t fair and I quickly changed it (but left the evidence). Give Armando full credit for giving even this administration credit for having something to do with this. And, yes, there’s no reason to think that Mubarek is going to be holding election coffees. But it is good news.

: SUNDAY UPDATE: The punchline according to Global Octopus:

Of course, it has nothing to do with US policy. All the credit goes to Jacques Chirac and Kofi Annan.

Blogging, blogging, everywhere…

Blogging, blogging, everywhere…

: The ancient Observer of London is blogging.

Wingers, Fringers, and the rest of us

Wingers, Fringers, and the rest of us

: There’s a lot of interesting followup discussion to my post yesterday about close-, clubby liberals trying to lock out fellow liberals they don’t like… like me.

They are trying to create a club that gets ever smaller as they reject more people who disagree with them about one of their fervently held beliefs or who don’t hate the other side fervently enough to meet their standards. The club soon makes them and no one else happy.

They think the club is the Democratic Party. They think they took it over in the last election. In fact, they lost the last election for us.

It is time for more mature politicians — see Bill Keller’s definition of politiican here — to take charge.

In the meantime, while the Wingers on one edge and the Fringers on the other edge spit and piss on each other, the rest of us — most of us — are left in the middle wondering where to turn.

See lots of discussion in the comments below. And see these posts from my PubSub egofeed, too. First from Fred Wilson a card-carrying (and checkbook-carrying and megaphone-carrying) liberal. He says that he and I disagreed only about the Iraq war; he affirms my liberal credentials and then says:

The war in Iraq needs to be buried in the past. It’s over as a politcal issue. The left lost that one. There are bigger battles to fight like fiscal responsibility, a sound social security system, a woman’s right to choose, etc. That’s where my left leaning politics are strongest and its where the majority of the country agrees with the Democrats.

I wrote several weeks ago that the left needs to focus on Social Pragmatism and Fiscal Conservatism. That’s a winning proposition. Opposition to the war in Iraq is not.

: Scared Monkeys says:

This is the death nell for the Democrats. The Kos wing has taken over the party and they will turn the Jarvis

Milk carton TV

Milk carton TV

: Watching the hours of TV devoted to the tragedy of the latest missing child in Florida is, well, uncomfortable. It is a good thing that TV is using its power to spread the word and, perhaps, help find the child; it has worked before. But once the word is spread, is it really necessary to eek out the angsts of the family — and the suspicions of police and anchors — at length, again and again? It’s a sick sort of voyeurism, witnessing pain.

When I was a reporter on the midnight shift in Chicago — where I sat and waited until somebody killed somebody or died a miserable death to write stories under our standing slugs: slash, crash, slay, burn — I frequently had the unfortunate duty of calling the family of a victim of some sort of terrible crime or accident to get grist for our mill: human-interest quotes and pictures. I quickly learned the best line to use, the same one you hear on TV: Please tell us about your loved one, tell us more than just the name and the cold details that will appear in the paper. We’re acting as if we and the audience are concerned. And maybe we are. But it’s still an intrusion.

How much do we need to know about these horrible missing-children cases? What is the best way to serve? I think we could exchanges long, painful, salt-in-wound interviews with distraught relatives in front of their humble homes for more-frequent alerts.