Studs Terkel is Dead

by Harry on October 31, 2008

Tribune obit here.

Building up the Iron Cage

by Henry on October 31, 2008

Ezra Klein has a “suggestion”:http://www.prospect.org/csnc/blogs/ezraklein_archive?month=10&year=2008&base_name=why_you_should_buy_the_iron_ca

Tim Fernholz analyzes the controversy and concludes, “no one knows who Khalidi is outside of the media and high information voters, and an even smaller universe of people cares. The attacks by McCain are reprehensible…but ultimately this is not an election about small stuff. This is a big stuff election.” If you want a one-line summary of why John McCain’s Distract-O-Tron 3000 strategy has failed to connect, you can’t do much better than that. Meanwhile, Khalidi is, as everyone keeps telling you, a well-respected and incisive scholar of the Middle East in general, and the Palestinian struggle for nationhood in particular. …

Presumably, this experience has not been a pleasant one for Khalidi. But it would be nice if some good emerged from it in the form of broader familiarity with his important works. So next time you hear Hannity explain how Rashid Khalidi urinates on a Haggadah during full moons, head over to Amazon and pick up a copy of The Iron Cage: The Story of the Palestinian Struggle for Statehood. Its an important book on its own terms, and its purchase is a worthy counter-statement to this type of anti-Arab fearmongering.

Background “here”:http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/241253.php, for those who haven’t been following; it’s worth noting that even Martin bloody Peretz “is defending Khalidi”:http://blogs.tnr.com/tnr/blogs/the_spine/archive/2008/10/30/excuse-me.aspx. I’ve already bought my copy. Those who want to do likewise at Amazon and, with a bit of luck and solidarity, see his sales ranking increase, can “do so here”:http://www.amazon.com/Iron-Cage-Palestinian-Struggle-Statehood/dp/0807003093/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1225470898&sr=8-1 (nb that I am using my own standard Amazon ID here, but if someone can nominate a worthwhile organization with an Amazon ID which is really likely to _annoy_ Sean Hannity, Michael Goldfarb etc, let me know, and I will amend accordingly). Those who prefer to shop at a union-friendly store like Powells can find it “here”:http://www.powells.com/partner/29956/s?kw=Khalidi%20Iron%20Cage. It doesn’t take much in the way of prophetic insight to predict that we are going to be seeing _a lot more_ of this kind of innuendo from disgusting slime-purveyors like Daniel Pipes if Obama wins – one of the lessons of the Clinton years is that when the nastier elements of the right are losing elections, they start trying to turn the culture war back up to 11. It would be nice to get a head start on the pushback.

Simple answers etc etc

by Daniel on October 31, 2008

In the course of an article arguing that a large vote for Obama is not a vote for his policies (and, equally curiously, that the total and utter failure of conservative policies is not in and of itself a reason to try something else), Gerard Baker, who is to Thomas Friedman as Ricky Valance was to Richie Valens, says:

What, in these circumstances, would a scientific model predict as the winning margin for the Democratic presidential candidate: 10, 15, 20 percentage points? In fact, as of yesterday, Mr Obama seemed to have a solid but by no means overwhelming advantage of between 5 and 6 percentage points.

In fact, the Ray Fair model, with default values, predicts four points.

It is actually quite easy to look these things up you know.