Monday, November 29, 2004

More on Iranian nukes

The Federation of American Scientists has a handy catalog
of links and recent history.

In a statement, U.S. Rep. James Leach- R-Iowa, says:
"A proposal that might be suggested is negotiation of a Persian Gulf nuclear-free zone, which would reduce, although given the high possibility of cheating, not eliminate entirely one of the reasons Iran presumably seeks nuclear weapons - fear that it may be at a disadvantage in a conflict with an oil-rich neighbor. In return, America could offer not only normalization of relations in trade but the prospect of a free trade agreement and expanded country-to-country cultural ties with Iran."

James Phillips and Baker Spring of the Heritage Foundation write, "The United States, like its friends and allies in the region, should not simply ignore any efforts by Iran to proceed with its nuclear programs."

In an old but useful essay from 2003, Ray Takeyh writes for the World Policy Institute: "Contrary to Western assumptions, Iran’s nuclear calculations are not derived from an irrational ideology, but rather from a judicious attempt to craft a viable deterrent capability against an evolving range of threats."

More recently -- February of this year to be exact, Takeyh,
writing for the Center for American Progress, said:
"Given the centrality of the United States in Iran's strategic view of the world, a better relationship with Washington can be the best means of ensuring the theocracy's continued compliance with its non-proliferation pledges. A greater degree of engagement and dialogue between Washington and Tehran over issues of common concern, such as the stabilization of Iraq and the postwar Persian Gulf, can empower the nascent coalition of reformers and pragmatists who seek to eschew the provocative nuclear option."

More Southern strategies

U.S. Rep. Artur Davis' essay in Sunday's Insight section on how Democrats can regain the South has some company.

Jim Hodges, a former governor of South Carolina, writes in Sunday's Charlotte Observer:
"It would be refreshing for party leaders to acknowledge that Democrats have lost touch with the concerns of middle-class and working-class Americans and enter into a new covenant (see Bill Clinton) with the people focused on better education, health care and job protection. Americans are searching for a party that understands the concerns expressed around family dinner tables every night. We can be that party. It starts with a dramatic statement that we're changing our focus to the concerns of people in middle America -- the same folks Roosevelt and Truman championed."

Read more

Saturday, November 27, 2004

German economics

Germans call it "Hartz vier," but it's appropriately pronounced "Hartz fear." Exec Peter Hartz has been drafted to bolster Germany's economic foundation in terms of the social safety net.

Hartz is in his fourth ("vier" in German) round of cutting back on the country's extensive entitlements. For example, he wants to limit unemployment benefits to one year.

The resulting outcry is reminiscent of Clinton era welfare reform. During my recent tour of Germany, "Hartz vier" was on the minds of many. We're sure German politicians are more than happy to let a private citizen take all the heat of welfare reform.

In Friday's New York Times, Mark Landler
writes: "To shake loose the country's hidebound labor market, Mr. Hartz went after its rigid work rules, implacable labor unions and, most controversially, its generous unemployment compensation, which makes life on the dole a reasonable alternative for millions of Germans."

Feminists in the South

The Nation's Ashley Sayeau writes:
"The South has a long history of stifling dissent and leaving women with few alternatives to traditional roles. The suffrage movement there was decades late, and it never gained the momentum it did in other regions. Nine of the ten states to vote against the Nineteenth Amendment were below the Mason-Dixon line. And the image of the chaste and devoted Southern white woman has been used to justify everything from patriarchy to lynching. Women who defied this ideal were accused of nothing short of treason. Said one Alabama state senator in 1917 of Southern suffragists, "[They] have allowed themselves to be misled by bold women who are the product of the peculiar social conditions of our Northern cities into advocating a political innovation the realization of which would be the undoing of the South…if they succeed then indeed was the blood of their fathers shed in vain." Fidelity of this sort is difficult to escape – it's a loyalty that still today slips quickly into a fear so profound that a grown woman might not tell her family she's in town to write a piece on feminism, but only to check out a conference about women at a church."

Read more here:

Friday, November 26, 2004

More on Lamar Society and the South

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Editorial Page Editor Paul Greenberg weighs in on last weekend's meeting of the L. Q. C. Lamar Society to the Endowment for the Future of the South.

He writes:
It's a Southern thing, or at least used to be. You might love or hate or just tolerate your newspaper. You might be charmed or appalled by it, but it was always your newspaper. Here we take things personally. Or did.
One great change in Southern and maybe American journalism has been the loss of the personal as one family newspaper after another has been sold to some all-devouring corporation. Even when the journalism is improved by the change, the personal quality is lost. And the personal is the hallmark of whatever the South is, or was.
Read more here:

See another take on the meeting from Brandt Ayers here

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Happy Thanksgiving

Hope everybody is having a happy Turkey Day.