Warren’s speech last week at Netroots Nation gave it new life. Her fans even created this cringe-inducing hathetic theme song:

http://youtu.be/ZqCFxg2ez44

But there are few signs that Warren is preparing for a run:

[S]he is not doing behind-the-scenes spadework expected for a White House run. When she headlined the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party’s Humphrey-Mondale Dinner in March, Warren did not take down names and numbers of the people she met. She traveled with only one aide, hitching a ride from the airport from a local party official, said Corey Day, the party’s executive director.

“There was no advance guy making sure the room was exactly right and her water was cold,” Day said. “You didn’t sense an urgency for her to build a political operation. It was just her and her message, all very low-key.”

Weigel understands the game activists are playing:

The Dean campaign lost every major primary. The lesson activists took away: Try something. The media, at least, is going to cover a primary threat more than it covers a sui generis student loan bill. Thus the Warren “presidential campaign,” a masterful branding and messaging exercise.

Read On

Criminally Bad Parenting, Ctd

Jul 22 2014 @ 4:44pm

Douthat takes a deeper look at “the obligations of conservatives, who tend to support measures that encourage single parents to take jobs, to fiercely oppose policies and practices that then punish such parents when they leave their kids unsupervised.” He suggests building on “direct, paycheck-based success rather than trying to build out the existing K-through-12 system,” and warns against looking to Europe for answers:

[T]he more regimented and mandate-thick a society’s child care system, the more likely it is to have unexpected and perverse consequences for parents and families whose lives don’t quite fit the system’s implicit norms — which could mean anyone from high-achieving professional women (who often fare better in the laissez-faire U.S. than under family-friendly socialism) to would-be stay-at-home parents (who get nothing from a government-run child care system, and who can be effectively prodded into the workforce by the taxes required to pay for it).

Which is why it’s a little unfortunate that American liberalism is pressing so hard right now on ideas (universal daycare, mandated family leave) that could just import some of the European system’s problems to our shores.

Ross returns to the practical childcare issues for struggling families within the US:

Read On

Mental Health Break

Jul 22 2014 @ 4:20pm

Breaking the fourth wall:

Looking at you – Movie Montage from Brutzelpretzel on Vimeo.

Lonely Planet

Jul 22 2014 @ 4:00pm

Ethan Chiel recounts the strange story behind the decade-old Internet phenomenon I am lonely will anyone speak to me:

[Ten years ago] an unregistered guest poster using the name “lonely” started a thread on the forums at moviecodec.com, a site usually dedicated to discussing digital video files. The thread was titled “i am lonely will anyone speak to me,” and the first post read:

please will anyone speak to about anything to me …

Ten days after the thread was created, another guest, wetfeet2000, made the first of what of what would be many similar posts:

dude, i typed in “I am lonely” in google, and your post was the very first reposnse. does that make you the most popular lonliest person on the planet ?

Noting that the thread is now nearly 2,200 pages long, Chiel considers its significance:

I’ve never posted in the thread, but I think about some of the posts in it often. Having spent time as the top search result for lonely people seeking help through Google means that it doubles as a public archive of mostly anonymous human loneliness. … There are definitely bad elements in “i am lonely will anyone speak to me,” but I think of it fondly anyway because for a long time it’s struck me as an enduring example of something the Internet is well suited for: an impromptu place where people can say something out loud, and where doing so might help them a little.

Which makes us all a little less lonely.

Some Clarity On Russia And Ukraine

Jul 22 2014 @ 3:37pm

Anne Applebaum has a really sober and accurate description of what has been going on:

A reader adds:

For too long, news reports have spoken of the “Ukrainian rebels” as if the warfare underway in the Donetsk to Luhansk corridor were some sort of bona fide local uprising. It is true that the populace in this zone have pro-Russian sympathies. But the suggestion that they rose up against Kiev is nonsense. Everyone who has looked closely at these operations–starting with a study of the personnel who sprouted up out of nowhere as local “mayors” or “leaders” has come to the same conclusion–this is a very sophisticated covert operation of Russian intelligence, using Russian personnel with clear links to the Russian intelligence services (but covert nevertheless) in all the starring roles, drawing on support from regular Russian military as well as the elite Spetsnaz units, with money, weapons, munitions and logistical support all supplied with a go-ahead from the Kremlin. In other words, Putin really is calling all the shots–including telling the “Ukrainian rebels” to make a show of being independent.

Now, that being established, let us not lose sight of the fact that the United States decided back in the Bush years to rely principally on covert operations for its counterterrorism operations, and Obama fully embraced this.

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Treating Prostitutes Like Children

Jul 22 2014 @ 3:19pm

Elizabeth Nolan Brown sees the Swedes doing so:

Many areas have adopted or are considering what’s known as the “Swedish” or “Nordic Model,” which criminalizes the buying, rather than the selling, of sexual services (because, as the logic goes, purchasing sex is a form of male violence against women, thus only customers should be held accountable). In this nouveau-Victorian view, “sexual slavery” has become “sex trafficking,” and it’s common to see media referring to brothel owners, pimps, and madams as “sex traffickers” even when those working for them do so willingly.

The Swedish model (also adopted by Iceland and Norway and under consideration in France, Canada and the UK) may seem like a step in the right direction—a progressive step, a feminist step. But it’s not.

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Can Kerry Fix The Gaza Mess?

Jul 22 2014 @ 2:58pm

John Kerry rushed off to Cairo last night to try and broker a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, but it’s not at all clear that he can get the deal he wants:

Kerry reiterated Sunday what Obama told Netanyahu on Friday: that the US supports a return to the 2012 cease-fire that halted rocket fire into Israel from Gaza. Hamas says Israel did not hold up its side of that agreement. And the militant group that governs Gaza is also deeply suspicious of the Egyptian government, which – since the 2012 cease-fire – has banned the Muslim Brotherhood. Hamas is affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood. But just returning to the 2012 agreement is unlikely to happen, says WINEP’s [Eric] Trager. “Egypt today is not going to accede to anything that would allow Hamas to come out of this strengthened,” he says. Egypt is also not likely to accept opening the Gaza-Egypt border at Rafah, another Hamas demand.

As of this writing, the Cairo visit has produced no breakthroughs. Steven Cook argues that Egypt is a terrible interlocutor, given that Sisi’s regime actually benefits from the conflict:

The Egyptians seem to believe that a continuation of the fighting — for now — best serves their interests.

Read On

Last week, in response to me, Douthat kicked off a conversation about reform conservatives’ foreign policy views. Ross, for his part, advocates for a “kind of unifying center for conservatives weary of current binaries (Tea Party versus RINOs in the domestic sphere, ‘isolationists’ versus ‘neocons’ in foreign policy), which would internalize lessons from the Bush and Obama eras (especially lessons about the limits of military interventions and nation-building efforts) without abandoning broad Pax Americana goals“:

I liked Ben Domenech’s way of framing this point, when he wrote [last week] in the Transom that the Republican Party “has always burke.jpgincluded realists and idealists, and there was in the past a degree of trust that elected leaders could sound more like idealists but govern more like realists.” It’s that trust that was forfeited by some of the Bush administration’s follies, and that needs to be recovered if the G.O.P. is to deserve anybody’s vote. But because it’s a trust, ultimately, in competence and caution, it’s a bit hard to say exactly what this kind of “new realism” or “realist internationalism” or “chastened idealism” (or whatever phrase you prefer) would look like case by case … beyond, I suppose, saying “let Robert Gates drink from the fountain of youth, and put him in charge of Republican foreign policy forever,” which is certainly an idea, but probably not a sufficient foundation for an actual agenda.

Justin Logan argues that a “big part of the problem here is the conservative donor class”:

To put it bluntly, the portion of the GOP donor class that cares about foreign policy is wedded to a militaristic foreign policy, particularly in but not limited to the Middle East. Tens of millions of dollars every year are pumped into an alphabet soup of magazines, think tanks, fellowships, lobby groups and other outfits in Washington to ensure that conservative foreign policy stays unreformed.

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The View From Your Window

Jul 22 2014 @ 2:22pm

Tromsø-Norway-1223AM

Tromsø, Norway, 12.23 am. The reader writes:

Tromsø is 70 degrees north in the Arctic circle, and it never goes dark during June and July. I’ve been in Norway just a few weeks now and predictably haven’t had a decent night’s sleep since I got here. Still, Norway is such a happy wonderful country and I feel lucky to be here during such weird and sad times. Wishing you the best; I remain a subscriber, admirer, & c.,

100 Percent Efficacy

Jul 22 2014 @ 1:58pm

That’s the effectiveness of Truvada in preventing HIV infection in the latest large study just unveiled at the AIDS conference in Melbourne:

PrEP had no significant efficacy in people who took fewer than two doses a week. However, the efficacy of PrEP was 84% in people who took 2-3 doses a week – there was only one infection in this group – and no infections at all were seen in people taking at least four doses a week. This 100% efficacy translates into a minimum efficacy of 86% if the statistical uncertainty of the result is taken into account.

Did they all throw condoms away?

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