As you may know the members of the Watcher’s Council each nominate one of his or her own posts and one non-Council post for consideration by the whole Council. The complete list of this week’s Council nominations is here.
A position has opened up on the Watcher’s Council. If you have a blog take a look at the current rules and requirements and consider applying for the position. Warning: Dymphna’s shoes will be very hard to fill.
The Colossus of Rhodey, “Robot Rights”
Rhodey surveys the treatment of robots in science fiction literature and motion pictures. I’d suggest he read Lester Del Rey’s Helen O’Loy (the first breakout humanized robot story) and Eando Binder’s fabulous Adam Link stories (one of which was dramatized on the old Outer Limits TV show and which almost certainly inspired Star Trek TNG’s The Measure of a Man episode.
American Future, “The Coming of Neo-Multilateralism”
Marc considers the prospects for American foreign policy after the Bush Administration and speculates that a form of isolationism is likely to take hold masquerading as multilateralism. I agree that the Bush Doctrine, the spreading of democracy by force, is dead (I’ve been saying so since 2003), that the absence of a robust foreign policy regardless of the benignity of the motives and process is de facto isolationism, and that’s the likely near future for U. S. foreign policy. Absent a major attack on the U. S. (which I believe would provoke from us the disproportionate response that we’ve already been unfairly tarred with) the isolationist posture we’ll take will be characterized as fair trade and multilateralism.
Rhymes With Right, “NY Times to Terrorists: Bomb the Tunnels! Bomb the Tunnels!”
I disagree with Greg’s outrage at the NYT’s article on the vulnerability of the various tunnels linking New York City to the surrounding areas. First of all, it’s obvious and certainly not news to prospective terrorists. Second, there are two fundamentally different approaches towards improving what used to be called civil defense and is now, apparently, being called homeland security: the secret plan method and the open source method. IMO in a free society the only approach with a chance of success is the open source method. The city of Chicago has taken the secret plan approach and the most we can hope for from it is the best guess of those who had a role in its preparation. If you know Chicago, you’ll recognize how feeble that probably is. The DHS recommends the open source approach which is open to public scrutiny and benefits from the contribution of hundreds or thousands of citizens.
Soccer Dad, “Two Red Herrings Out of Three Ain’t Bad”
Soccer Dad comments on a Washington Post editorial on Israeli-Palestinian peace.
The Glittering Eye, “Negotiating With Iran”
In my rather phlegmatic submission this week I commented on the editorial-within-an-editorial incident at the New York Times last week, electing to comment on the substance of the original editorial rather than the Bush Administration’s rather silly desire to redact the durned thing.
Right Wing Nut House, “The Dark Side of ‘Traditional Values’”
Rick uses a post of Debbie Schussel’s as a point of departure for a post criticizing the misguided comments of Virginia congressman Virgil Goode on Minnesota congressman Keith Ellison’s (the first Muslim member of the U. S. Congress) decision to take his oath of office on the Qur’an. I don’t know whether the hardening of positions in the Right Blogosphere reflect a comparable hardening of positions in the nation as a whole but I see an increasingly bitter split between conservatives like Rick who recognize that we’re not going to close our borders or expel the Muslims from our midst or go to war on Islam and those who believe with all their hearts that Islam itself is the enemy and the sooner we realize that the sooner the whole sorry mess we’re in now will be resolved.
The Education Wonks, “Is a Teacher’s ‘Classroom Coming Out’ Protected Speech?”
EdWonk asks the right question: what was the context for the ‘coming out’? I think that there are any number of bases on which to criticize the teacher’s conduct: workplace appropriateness, classroom appropriateness, relevance to the class content. The primary purpose of the First Amendment is the protection of political speech. It’s my understanding that repeated cases have found that a public school teacher is quite limited in his or her right to discuss politics in the context of a classroom. Is it appropriate for a teacher to discuss his or her sexuality in the context of, say, homeroom? For a teacher to announce his or her conversion to Islam? To Catholicism? Attendance at a prayer service? What are the limits?
Done With Mirrors, “Follow Your Surges”
Callimachus discusses the political disconnects in today’s America using the discussion of Frederick Kagan’s proposed surge strategy as a point of departure.
Joshuapundit, “IRANIAN Military Seized in Raid on Iraqi Insurgents—(and the New York Times Deplores It)”
Freedom Fighter fisks a New York times news article on the capture of several Iranian military officials in Iraq. This isn’t actually news: there have been reports of direct and indirect participation of the Iranian military with Shi’ite militia in Iraq since 2004.
Andrew Olmsted, “Why Facts Don’t Matter”
Andrew takes hilzoy of Obsidian Wings to task in her analysis of federal deficits and bemoans the degree to which beliefs have become more important than facts. One of the reasons for this, I think, is the enormous amount of information with which we’re constantly deluged. There’s an overwhelming amount of data and an equally overwhelming number of axes to grind with very, very few with either the tools, background, or good will enough to separate the signal from the noise and analyze what remains.
The Sundries Shack, “Islamists on the Run!”
Jimmie Bise notes that the way to deal with radical Islamists is to fight them, as the Ethiopians are doing with respect to the Somalis. I suppose it would be weak-livered of me to express concern at what may rapidly be developing into Africa’s equivalent of World War II?
Well, I’ve decided which posts I’ll vote for this week. Which would get your votes?