Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Bits and Pieces - January 11, 2011

Or 1/11/11, or 11/1/11, depending on where you live.

Community on a micro scale in Tucson. And the macro scale in Arizona. Arizona and New Mexico were admitted to the Union at the same time, in 1912. I've recently read that the requirements for Arizona's joining were different from New Mexico's, more about keeping the natives down and making sure the white folks were safe. New Mexico was allowed to continue its (relative) tolerance among Spanish, Indian, and Anglos. One might ask if this experiment shows something about the stability of multicultural groups. I need to do more research on this.

Jonathan Chait repeats what Helmut highlighted:
The left-wing version came to the fore during the 1960s, but it is tiny and almost completely disconnected from Democratic politics. The right-wing version, on the other hand, is drawing ever more tightly into an embrace with putatively respectable Republican politics.
A good thought on possible reaction to the shooting:
We all lose an element of freedom when security considerations distance public officials from the people. Therefore, it is incumbent on all Americans to create an atmosphere of civility and respect in which political discourse can flow freely, without fear of violent confrontation.
Some considerations if you're going to argue "both sides do it." Via.

Turning to other news, a good observation on playing budget chicken:
No matter who's doing it, it's dangerous and irresponsible to refuse to raise the debt limit. The time for lawmakers to exercise fiscal restraint is when they're voting on budget resolutions, appropriations and tax bills, not when they're deciding whether to honor America's debts.
Organized labor played an important part in preventing the vast economic inequalities we now see in America. But it's unlikely to make a comeback. What else might function as that kind of balancing wheel?

It's going to be really awful when socialized medicine imposes long waits and bureaucratic nonsense on us. Oh, wait!

Moore's Law for Empires.

Good summary of North Korea's nuclear technology by Siegfried Hecker, who's seen it.

There have been protest riots in Tunisia and Algeria over the past week or two. Juan Cole provides some details, and Marc Lynch (among others) wonders if this will lead to changes in governance, by violence or by changes made by those in power.

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