Sunday, November 23, 2008

Light Reading

I'm exhausted today, so I'm giving you links to read. Because they're good for you.

Yes, the first one is something I wrote over at GlobalComment. Inspired by Rachel Maddow, I did my own Lame Duck Watch:

George W. Bush is still in office and still has all the powers he did for the first seven years of his presidency, though his ability to set an agenda is diminished and he can give an exclusive interview to CNN that gets less hype than one from Sarah Palin does.

It’s been tradition for a while among presidents to save their shadiest business for their lame duck period, since our celebrity-worship culture will be enamored of its shiny new plaything, the president-elect.

Octogalore schools Larry Summers (and Ann-Marie Slaughter, too):

Then Larry gets into the area he’s most known for. He says overall IQ and mathematical and scientific ability vary based on gender. He looked at sex ratios in the top 5% of twelfth graders and says this group is “50% women, one woman for every two men.”

Now, Larry, here I have to point out, the alma mater we share did not do very well by you. 50% women is one woman for every one man. A group where there is one woman for every two men would be 33% women. Listen, I know you had to change from Physics to Econ, which at our school was basically a humanities class, but come on, man.

jdg at Sweet Juniper talks about why we need to save the auto industry(h/t Bitch, Ph.D):

I'm no apologist for the Big Three or their ridiculous missteps and lapses of judgment. But I do care about the regular people who work for these companies and who played no role in those poor decisions. Where is the compassion? Consider the charities that receive donations from both corporations and individuals connected to the auto industry and the people those charities help. Some of the moments when I was most proud of my fellow Americans were when people stepped up in the wake of natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina or the Asian Tsunami and gave what they could to help fellow human beings who were suffering. Three years after Katrina, New Orleans is starting again to look like New Orleans again.

It hardly looks like Detroit at all anymore.

...For Detroiters, of course, it is hard to separate all this talk of "buy local" economics from the misery of the auto industry, and not be frustrated with those Prius-driving yuppies in the Pacific Northwest calling for the death of this massive American industry while patting themselves on the back for buying butter made from the milk of organically-fed Oregon cows.

hilzoy makes a decent argument for keeping Gates at Defense.

Basically, I think that there are two main reasons for keeping Gates. The first is that it's very important to get bipartisan cover for the withdrawal from Iraq if we want to avoid some future conservative "if only the Democrats had let us win" story. (Likewise, bipartisan cover would be very useful if Obama decides to cut some weapons systems.) The second is that by all accounts the military have a lot of respect for Gates; keeping him on, therefore, would allow Obama to bypass the need to establish his own credibility and that of his Secretary of Defense with them. (Yes, I know: this shouldn't be necessary. But it is.)

Finally, a bit of news that makes me happy (h/t Feministe):

Ellen Moran, executive director of EMILY's List, will serve as Obama's communications director.

Moran worked for the AFL-CIO, coordinating "Wal-Mart corporate accountability activities," before returning to EMILY's, an organization dedicated to helping Democratic women get elected to office.