Bob Wright and new blogginghead Matt Yglesias worry that the Bushies, in tacit concert with hard-line Israelis, will blow [V] the dialectical opportunity for peace presented by Hamas' election victory. ... What I don't understand is why (as both Wright and Yglesias seem to assume) it would help if the United States now struck a "moderate" hopeful tone, giving Hamas "leeway" in order to "draw [them] in" to the peace process. Isn't that plodding State Department thinking--we send them a positive signal, they respond, etc? If we moved to be nicer to Hamas, it seems more likely that this would be the kiss of death--e.g. it would guarantee that they would become allergic to any moderation. If they're going to change, they need to do it themselves, after assessing their position in honest opposition to their enemies (Israel, and us) in a way that lets them take credit for standing up to them. By talking tough now, Bush doesn't foreclose that possibility--he enhances it, no? Today, confrontation. Manana, aufhebung! ... P.S.: Scott MacMillan makes an intriguing point about the way in which Hamas' very religiosity may allow it to compromise on territory. But I suspect they are a ways away from settling for the "Islamicization of individuals," the so-called "de-territorialized ummah." ... 3:38 P.M.
Here's what kf's cut-rate private eye (alert reader G) dug up on XM satellite radio's Meritocratic Poster Boy Luke Russert! I'd say it will only help him with his target demographic groups. ... Next time I splurge and hire a shamus from Craigslist. ... 2:20 P.M.
Let 144 Flowers Not Bloom: According to Shanghai Daily, the Chinese government has ordered 144 auto manufacturers to "shut down production," rather than let them fight it out and see which ones survive. Now that's industrial policy. In theory the Chinese should pay a price for this anti-market selection. ... P.S.: Some of China's early vehicle exports do seem to be junk, although you'd think that sort of gross defect will be weeded out in the international marketplace, at least if Chinese companies want to sell cars. ... 10:41 P.M.
BrokeBangle Hype: BMW's boasting about record sales, but it sure looks to me like sales of the franchise-making 3 series are flat, flat, flat, despite the introduction of a brand new model embodying big-talker Chris Bangle's latest visionary breakthrough. Shouldn't sales have surged? What if they now collapse, like second-year purchases of the Bangled-up fake-Gehry Z4? ... Customers may be failing to appreciate the new cars' place in the broad sweep of the "biggest single aesthetic undertaking in human history!" Instead, they're just looking at the cars. Philistines! ... 7:27 P.M.
The Justice Department went to court last week to try to force Google, by far the world's largest Internet search engine, to turn over an entire week's worth of searches. ... [snip] ... But the case itself, according to people involved in it and scholars who are following it, has almost nothing to do with privacy.
Gee, it seems like only yesterday the NYT was fronting a story highlighting the terror of computer users who, because of the Justice Department's actions, were now afraid to type in ordinary, curious search requests like "rent boy" for fear their privacy had disappeared. ("Would Google have to inform the government that she was looking for a rent boy - a young male prostitute?"). But it turns out you only imagined that Howell Raines had come back as NYT editor to launch one of his overheated, misguided crusades. It was all a dream, a bad dream. ...[via JustOneMinute ] 3:39 P.M.
Earl Ofari Hutchinson contributes a forceful and admirably BS-free post on a dirty little un-PC secret of the Democratic coalition: Anti-illegal immigrant sentiment among blacks. ... Is this the real, little-noted reason why President Bush made only miminal gains among African-American voters while he was wooing Latinos with his guest worker and quasi-amnesty proposals? ... Note: Just because employers don't "hire Latinos at low-end jobs and exclude blacks from them solely because of their race" doesn't mean illegal immigrants don't drive down wages at the bottom of the job market. Even if the immigrants weren't willing to work for less, the mere presence of more workers drives down wages on simple supply/demand grounds. A big reason wages at the bottom rose in the late Clinton years was a perceived tightness (i.e. shortage) in the low wage labor market, with the result that employers offered wages that weren't quite so low. We want a tight labor market at the bottom again, and restricting immigration could be one reasonable way to get it. African-Americans (as Hutchinson concedes) aren't racist just because they reach that conclusion. ... P.S.: I'm not saying economics is the only reason for anti-illegal fervor among blacks. Cultural resentments may be a big part of it. I'm just saying the economic argument is rational. ... 1:04 A.M. link