Northern Ireland Settlement

by Maria on March 26, 2007

Wonderful news; power-sharing in a devolved Northern Ireland administration will begin on 8 May. I’m rather surprised, as it looked to me as if the DUP would delay agreement at least for a few days. I suspect at least part of the reason the UK could make a credible ‘now or never’ threat was the fact that Gordon Brown was more than willing to cut the purse strings to the assembly. Bravo to one and all.

How do I sleep?

by Michael Bérubé on March 26, 2007

<a href=””>Alexander Cockburn wants to know</a>, and it’s sweet of him to ask. In his most recent essay, “Where are the Laptop Bombardiers Now,” he writes:

<blockquote>But today, amid Iraq’s dreadful death throes, where are the parlor warriors? Have those Iraqi exiles reconsidered their illusions, that all it would take was a brisk invasion and a new constitution, to put Iraq to rights? Have any of them, from Makiya through Hitchens to Berman and Berube had dark nights, asking themselves just how much responsibility they have for the heaps of dead in Iraq, for a plundered nation, for the American soldiers who died or were crippled in Iraq at their urging?</blockquote>

Cockburn’s essay is gradually making its way through the Intertubes, as I learned this weekend when I got an email from one of Cockburn’s more gullible readers, asking me to apologize to the children of Iraq. Well, I don’t know how Makiya and company feel about such things, but I can say that my position on Iraq four years ago hasn’t led me to wonder how much responsibility I have for the war. I opposed the war, and no, I’m not sorry about that.
[click to continue…]


by John Holbo on March 26, 2007

Kevin Drum asks why, if it’s so conservative, 24 is so liberal. I’ve only watched 96 hours worth, but here goes. Yes, the CTU action is, at bottom, a kind of Dirty Harry dirty bomb fantasy. But, since this is partly a fantasy of (justified) moral transgression, the show needs to telegraph awareness that ‘this is all very complicated and fraught with moral peril – yet we are doing it with clear eyes.’ So you need to spend some time gesturing in that direction, but it would be annoying if these gestures slowed down the action. So those bits get outsourced to the political side of the narrative. So a subdued sense of how the game actually ought to be played, cleanly, gets played as a sort of steady accompaniment, with the left hand, while the right is banging out a rousing, martial tune. It would be a good bargain, if the reality-based liberal community could strike it: in exchange for liberal control of actually existing institutions and policy-making, conservatives could be ceded total control of a network of powerful but strictly mythical agencies, headed by omnicompetent, albeit non-existent agents.

Guinness Marmite

by Chris Bertram on March 26, 2007

Guinness Marmite

Originally uploaded by Chris Bertram.

This is for “Harry”: . (And perhaps for Henry, Kieran and Maria too.) A limited edition (300,000 jars). It is already being re-sold on ebay. Not sure what it tastes like, as mine is as yet unopened.