The British American Project

by Daniel on November 7, 2004

I have a number of fantastic pieces of unsolicited advice for the Democrats, which I will no doubt be trotting out over the course of the week. Idea the first, however, is something that’s been on my mind for the last few years.

It’s time for the UK to face facts, agree that we have very little in common with Europe and a lot in common with the USA, and join the United States. Not only would this be good for Britain, the addition of 60 million voters, substantially all of whom are politically to the left of John Kerry, would presumably solve a few problems for you lot too.

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Discussing Israel

by Henry Farrell on November 7, 2004

One of the things that I find most depressing about discussions on Crooked Timber and elsewhere is that it seems to be absolutely impossible to have a civil argument about Israel and the Palestinians. I’m now very reluctant to post on Israeli or Palestinian politics, as, I suspect, are my co-bloggers (and very probably bloggers elsewhere). For some reason, it seems to be difficult for supporters and critics of Israel’s policy to argue reasonably with each other – or at the least, the unreasonable voices very quickly swamp the reasonable ones. Why? And why do arguments on this issue become so much more heated more quickly than on other issues, given there is at least some potential for agreement (barring the crazies on both sides, most people seem to be prepared to accept some kind of two state solution)?

NB – lest this post become an example of what it’s seeking to criticize, I’m going to be especially ruthless in deleting comments that I think are unhelpful or that lay the blame all on one side in an overheated way.

Update: to be clear about my deletion policy for this post – if all you have to say is that (a) the treatment of Palestinians is part and parcel of the plot to oppress brown-skinned peoples everywhere, or (b) that Palestinians are inherently untrustworthy and all bent on destroying Israel, or anything even vaguely along these lines then please take your comments as already stipulated – whatever their intrinsic merits, they’re part of the dialogue of the deaf that I’m complaining about, and will be deleted.

Oh, That Sounds Promising

by Belle Waring on November 7, 2004

The provisional Iraqi government has declared a 60-day state of emergency in the run-up to an all-out assault on Falluja (pop. 300,000) by US Marines.

Heavy explosions were heard in Baghdad as government spokesman Thair Hassan al-Naqeeb announced the state of emergency over the entire country except Kurdish areas in the north.

“It is going to be a curfew. It is going to be so many things, but tomorrow the prime minister will mention it,” he said. Interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi will give more details Monday, he said.

Al-Naqeeb declined to say whether the announcement signaled an imminent attack on the insurgent stronghold Fallujah, saying, “We have seen the situation is worsening in this area. Any obstacle will be removed.”

“So many things.” I can hardly wait to hear more. For some reason this reminds me of the quote from Arafat when asked why he had to have eight different security services: he looked surprised and answered, “Why, Hosni Mubarak has 12.” Middle Eastern politics are so reassuring. Here’s to hoping the state of emergency lasts only 60 days.

The Visual Display of Quantitative Information

by Henry Farrell on November 7, 2004

As a complement to “Kieran’s post”:, Michael Gaster, Cosma Shalizi’s and Mark Newman’s “electoral map”: where area is proportional to population is fascinating, as well as weirdly beautiful – like butterflies exploding. Gaster-Shalizi-Newman also have a really interesting “analysis”: of the distribution of votes for for the Republican candidate – go read it now.

Update: according to Cosma, the histogram on his site showing 300 odd counties with 99% Democratic support was the result of a coding error – however the map is accurate.