by Ted on September 29, 2003

I’ve read the transcripts of today’s press conferences (this one and this one), and it seems clear to me that Scott McClellan chose his words very carefully to avoid saying that Rove told him that he’s not the source of the leak. This certainly doesn’t prove that Rove is one of the leakers, but it’s pretty conspicuously not a denial.

Some people would consider this a long, nitpicking post. (Heck, I consider it a long, nitpicking post, but I don’t know another way to write it.) If you’re one of those people, and you know who you are, don’t continue reading.

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Ethics Blogs

by Brian on September 29, 2003

Jonathan Ichikawa, who has a shiny new blog, asked me an interesting question the other day. Why are there so few ethics blogs? One simple answer would be that there are lots of ethics blogs, they are just spread around between political theory and legal theory and other areas of normative philosophy. Sad to say, these bloggers seem to be just as interested in day-to-day affairs as in high points of theory. Where’s the fun in that? (Not that they don’t write excellent posts when they do turn their attention to more theoretical matters. If only the world was less pressing.) So if any aspiring (or established) ethicist wants to start up a blog on the finer points of Korsgaard’s or Blackburn’s or Smith’s views, there’s probably a market niche waiting to be filled.

By the way, it’s a sad day when the graduate students start seeming to be appallingly young. Sad day indeed.

D- D- D- Defense

by Ted on September 29, 2003

Brad DeLong has a good post asking, “Where are the grown-ups in the Republican party?”

Hanyes Johnson and David Broder wrote a book called The System about the rise and fall of Clinton’s health care plan. (Incidentally, DeLong reviews the book here.) One of the most interesting threads is about the struggle between “Bob Dole Republicans” and “Newt Gingrich Republicans” for the soul of the party. Sheila Burke was one of Bob Dole’s advisors who found herself at the pointy end of the Gingrich Republicans:

By June, Sheila Burke found herself experiencing abuse of a kind she had never known before, all as a consequence of “the Right being ginned up.” The True Believer mentality was at work, she thought. “They support nobody who doesn’t totally agree with them,” Burke said then. “It’s not about governing, which is what we do.” She paused, and repeated for emphasis, “It’s not about governing. That’s not how they think.”

The System, page 385.

I’ve been thinking a lot about that quote this weekend as the Plame/ Wilson story developed.

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by Chris Bertram on September 29, 2003

One of the claims that features in the “Legrain piece I mention below”:https://www.crookedtimber.org/archives/000586.html is that US-European comparative growth rates give a misleading picture of the relative health of the two economic zones because US population is growing fast (more mouths to feed from that greater output) whereas European population is static. Of course the low population growth in Europe can be looked at the other way: as evidence of Eurosclerosis and the harbinger of a massive pensions-and-health crisis. Now I’ve always been a bit puzzled by the differential demographics. After all, the career pressures are perhaps greater in the US, there’s probably less in the way of subsidized childcare, and access to birth control is similar in both areas. So having children is pretty much elective in both zones and the individual cost-benefit calcultation is probably more favourable to having children in Europe than the US. So I’d predict, if I were just coming at things _a priori_ , a lower birthrate in America than in Europe.

Obviously that’s not what’s happening. So why not? And who is having the kids? After all, the dynamic America/sclerotic Europe claims are usually made by looking at the aggregate statistics. But if middle-class, educated Europeans and middle-class, educated Americans are behaving similarly to one another, but the “excess” children in the US are all being born to impoverished single parents in trailer parks, the aggregate figures may be less favourable to the US. So how do the figures actually break down, by income group, immigrant/non-immigrant, and so on? I’ve no idea what the answer is, and my googling skills haven’t helped here: but maybe someone else does.

Religion Politics and Universities

by Brian on September 29, 2003

Matt Yglesias linked to this very interesting exit poll from the last Presidential election. Like Matt, I thought some of the voting breakdowns are striking. I knew Jewish voters tended Democratic, but I had no idea it was 79-18. I wasn’t as shocked to see that voters with no religion favoured Gore 61-28, with another 9% for Nader, but that’s still a noticable gap.

Do these results have anything to do with the ‘liberalism‘ (meaning, in this context, disposition to not vote Republican) of American academia? Perhaps. At a guess, I would say that atheists, agnostics and Jews are pretty well represented in the academy, and Protestants are not as well represented, at least relative to their size in the broader community. As noted the well represented groups tend much more Democratic (and even Green) than the under represented groups.

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Even Further Down Under

by Kieran Healy on September 29, 2003

In case anyone’s wondering why I haven’t been posting, it’s because I’m off in the Southern Alps of New Zealand’s spectacular South Island. I feel the blogosphere will survive without me for a week.