Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Bits and Pieces - December 7, 2010

It's Pearl Harbor Day. Seems to be no big deal in the media, just like the anniversary of John F. Kennedy's assassination. I'm reading Tony Judt's Postwar, and he meditates in one of the last chapters on Europe's disconnection from history. It rang true enough for what I see in America, too. Our common past could unite us.

If we paid more attention to history, we'd see the stupidity of some of the current arguments for "less government." I put that in quotes, because the proponents seem selectively interested in reducing government. Quite unambiguously along the lines of their own financial interests. Dennis G. over at Balloon Juice has been writing about the Confederate Party, and it's hard to see where he's wrong. Ironic that the Republican Party originated to oppose the Confederate Party. His latest post is particularly well done.

And while we're on American politics, I think Michael Tomasky captures the issues around the tax compromise well. I've been thinking of writing a post on the realities of what Obama can and can't do and why it would be ultimatly stupid and self-defeating for him to pick a fight of the kind that some on the left side of the political spectrum would like to see. But I'm working on another longish post, so this will have to do for now.

The latest round of talks with Iran seem to have gone about as well as can be expected. Nobody's saying much, which means that maybe all have decided that they are engaged in serious negotiations rather than political theater.

And Estonia has finally turned up in the Wikileaks documents. No big surprise, like so many of the "revelations." The Guardian has a nicely detailed description of the defense plan for Poland and the Baltic States and how it was presented to Russia. That's what diplomacy is about.

Speaking of Estonia, I'm listening to Klassikaraadio and getting serious about my competency in Estonian in preparation for a trip this summer. If you want to listen, "Kuula reaalajas" is the button to click. "Listen in real time."

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