The “Straight Talk Express”

720k+ views in less than 48 hours. Yeah, he’s in trouble.

Various Links #4

I thought Sanford had his economic shit together?

Did he just totally ignore the concept of “sunk costs” at 2:16? What the hell? I’m fairly hopeful that he’s trying to convince people and hoping no one realises what exactly he’s doing…

Hillary: The Movie

Perfectly illustrates at least two things I can think of immediately.

  1. Why we should hope for Hillary to become the Democratic nominee. While the current situation is obviously very satisfying (both of the candidates attacking each other and offering plenty of ammunition for the general election) and Obama should be beatable as well (remember, he’s probably a closet Muslim terrorist! And he has a whacko priest!), Hillary is far easier. She’s done so much bad stuff and been involved in so many scandals – the Republican attack machinery is gonna have a field day. Which brings us to…
  2. The Republican attack machinery. It’s obviously still very neatly oiled. Well done on the guy crying and the guy mourning his father. It might take a little more and they’re gonna have to boil the main messages down to 30 second attack ads but obviously – as I’ve said in 1. – there’s plenty of material to use. Apart from the real juicy parts, i.e. the politics she stands for!

So yes, I am indeed confident that the next president of the United States may well be called John McCain – and libertarians won’t have to feel bad about voting for Bob Barr all that much…

Al-Sadr extends truce

As The Economist reported last week:

Iraqis must hope that his boss keeps things that way, said the sheikh, whose tribe includes both Sunnis and Shias. If Mr Sadr’s men return to their “old ways”, he said, Baghdad and Iraq could be divided for ever.

and:

As the six-month truce nears its end and speculation rises as to whether Mr Sadr will renew it, other leading figures in his movement note a bellicose impatience among the rank and file.

Well, turns out Mr Sadr himself isn’t feeling all that bellicose. As CNN reports:

Iraqi Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has extended the cease-fire he imposed last summer on his Mehdi Army militia for another six months, al-Sadr’s office in Baghdad said on Friday.

I guess that’s generally good news and certainly a whole lot better than the alternative. Still, it’s doubtful whether Mr Sadr is really all that interested in working together with the United States. So the general message stays the same: fix the place up just enough to keep it from exploding and then get the hell out of there. For the strategy, this seems a good development. As for Mr McCain’s ‘Let’s stay in Iraq for a hundred years’ – not so much. It remains to be seen whether Iraq can turn into a real democracy – something like Pakistan seems to have achieved with its current election. But then, that one’s probably too early to be called a success.