Government subcontractors

by Henry Farrell on July 10, 2007

After a quasi-hiatus, Cosma Shalizi is back blogging regularly again. “This post”:

But I don’t know how else to feel, when dubiously legal and definitely undemocratic programs of spying on domestic political dissenters get shopped to private companies through a profoundly corrupt contracting process, and records conveniently disappear without causing any official comment. (Via Laura Rozen, who has been following this story from the beginning.) — The really depressing thing is that even if, inshallah, the GOP loses the House, the Senate and the White House in 2008, it’s not clear how much of this will change. If the last sixty years of the military-industrial complex is anything to go by, the rapidly-growing espionage-industrial complex of spooks and contractors will be very hard indeed to uproot. Wasting money on jets and battle-ships for never-going-to-happen wars is one thing, and might even be excused as Keynesianism-that-dare-not-speak-its-name, but making money out of classifying peaceful political opponents of the current administration as enemies of the state seems, not put too fine a point on it, like a danger to the republic.

seems to me to dovetail with Debbi Avant’s arguments1 about the risks of contracting out military services to private agencies (gated version here). [click to continue…]

Hey look – it’s the Goodyear blimp!

by John Holbo on July 10, 2007

Redstate, focusing on the issues of the day:

Franklin Delano Roosevelt chose the price of gold using the same methods with which you or I would choose PowerBall ticket numbers. If that doesn’t frighten and outrage you, I don’t know what will.

The author also reports that the George F. Will column in question, “made me spring out of my chair and pace around in abject disbelief and not a little anger.”

Thank goodness there’s no policy flippancy in the White House these days, otherwise urgent, perambulatory scowling at the olds, as we might call them, might look like aversion of one’s gaze from the news.

I wouldn’t make fun, except he put in that bit about springing and pacing.

UPDATE: And the author responds – to Kevin Drum, not to me. If you hate FDRblogging so much, “why don’t you write a post telling Democrats to stop raising the specter of Herbert Hoover at the drop of a hat?”

Mind at the end of its tether

by John Holbo on July 10, 2007

Just wanted to take note of a felicitous typo from Andrew Sullivan:

But it could give the neocons a new leash on life, a way to invigorate their exhausted ideological engines.

Quite unrelatedly, I was amused to read:

It is debatable whether paganism is a religion, per say.

I’m not sure whether he misspelled ‘per se’ or was, rather, reaching for ‘so to speak’, as one might grope for the bottle.

The piece reminded me of Kieran’s post about how ‘atheism’ was, originally, a charge lodged against Christians. It’s interesting to find predicates that have wandered so comprehensively.

Should feminists support basic income?

by Ingrid Robeyns on July 10, 2007

A little while ago, when “Harry discussed the latest addition to the Real Utopias Project on basic income and stakeholding”:, some commentators raised the issue of the gender effects. I promised at that time that I would write a post about it. Well, finallly the time has come — thanks to a workshop on this topic that the “Heinrich Boell Foundation”: organised last Thursday in Berlin. They are the think-thank of the Green German Party, which is currently seriously debating whether they should advocate a basic income as (part of) a welfare state reform strategy. The workshop addressed the question whether a basic income would have different implications for women and men, and whether, all things considered, it would be a policy reform that feminists may want to support. [click to continue…]