As has now become customary after lengthy absences from blogging, I will now link to and comment on things which most people who will read this will have seen weeks ago in what is probably a wholly useless exercise.
First things first. Some people who are far too prickly for their own good have decided that actually, terrorising someone to the extent of threatening to get them sacked is an entirely appropriate response to jokes. I would not have made the choices which Shot By Both Sides did, but I think it's fairly safe to say that making comedy references to the Holocaust, whilst undoubtedly in incredibly bad taste, is not something which deserves to carry the penalty of potential penury. John will be missed, and I only hope that the Sharpener allows him to maintain the impressively high standard of managing to piss everyone off. Other people say similar things here, here and a variety of other places. Incidentally, Rob Jubb is my real name, but I'm currently unemployed, so threatening me with words to my non-existent boss is fairly futile.
Crooked Timber discovers that someone who is apparently a prominent member of Forza Italia, the political party of Mr. Banana Republic, Silvio Berlusconi, wasn't aware that just because the Daily Mail publicised something, it doesn't mean it's true. I would say expect re-issues of the Zinoviev letter any time now, except that's been the Right's stock in trade since, well, the beginning of time. Crooked Timber also does a fairly good summary of the Lancet report on the casuality rate in Iraq, post-invasion, here, whilst Kieran Healy gets involved in a debate with Timothy Burke about what's going on in a New York Times article about high-powered women giving it all up for the kids here and here. As far as my tuppence worth goes, it's that the choices which the NYT describes are choices available to a fairly restricted set of people, restricted both by economic circumstance and by gender, and I find the acceptance of that as perfectly normal which the article appears to display repugnant on both those grounds.
Fistful of Euros finds this set of links to various publications of various think-tanks, and the Sharpener points out this opportunity to rant and rave about the state of British democracy, which at least allow you to vent the spleen inevitably derived from reading the out-pourings of policy wonks.
Fistful of Euros also notices that the current Iraqi government is claiming that the previous Iraqi government was made up of a bunch of thieving, mendacious bastards, as do a bunch of Americans I can't be bothered to round up. The LRB had a good piece on this sort of thing here in July, and, frankly, anyone who expected the Bush administration to run anything other than a kleptocracy in their new, oil-rich, colony is either so naive as to be dangerous to let out on their own or so wilfully blind as to think that the Nazis were much misunderstood.
On a vaguely related topic, Matt Yglesias has some quite interesting things to say about the Bush administration's presentational skills and the attractions of quasi-apocalyptic conflict here and here. I think he's right about the lack of class, but then I'm not American, let alone a red-state Bible-basher - I mean, I think it's perfectly normal to baptise male children in a gown, which I have on good report is so no red-blooded American male would countenance for his soon-to-be gun-totting and beer-swilling offspring - so what do I know? It may be that the Americans, with their history of millenarian Protestantism, are particularly vulnerable to this kind of thing, but then Billy Bragg declaring that 'it's hard to explain to a crying child/ why her daddy won't go back/ well, the family suffers, but it hurts me more/ to hear a scab say 'sod you jack'' gets me by the balls every time, so it could be a political outlook thing.
Pearsall does a fair job of debunking the idea that the Palestinians are the victims of genocide here. Clearly, the Israeli state is not systematically killing Palestinians or preventing their social reproduction with the aim of destroying the Palestinians as a group. However, I think there's a decent case to be made for the Israeli state, insofar as it supports the settlers in the West Bank, as being involved in attempted ethnic cleansing, since support for the settlers effectively makes the West Bank uninhabitable, in any decent sense, for Palestinians, where it does not simply require their forcible removal.
Also in vaguely colonially goings-on, Bartlett's Bizarre Bazaar has a viewpoint on the recent shenigans in Basra which is both rather rare and persuasive. Since the idea that British forces of law and order are somehow above the rules which they are supposed to be upholding has been alarming prevalent recently, I feel it's appropriate to draw attention to this skewering of that sentiment. On the subject of mocking those with power who demonstrate a total lack of awareness of the appropriate boundaries of its use, Backword Dave quotes extensively from a rather entertaining Onion article.
Finally, in an item which is becoming almost as regular as approval of Fafblog, I disagree with Stumbling and Mumbling about this. No, not that it's ridiculous to criminalise glorification of terrorism - see my previously stated views on Charlie Boy's attempts to turn the UK into a police state here - but the connection between managerialism, whatever that is anyway, and postmodernism, and empiricism and liberalism. There is no more intimate connection between an empiricist philosophy and liberalism than there is between alleged managerialism and post-modernism or between post-modernism and a denigration of freedom. Post-modernism, much as I dislike much of it, is almost universally a development of the Marxian idea that freedom is severly limited, if not impossible, in late capitalism, and so depends for the force of its critique on the value of freedom. Equally, co-opting those who launched critiques of the first Gulf War on the basis that it systematically falsified reality as supporters of the so-often transparently ideologically driven Third Way is simply bizarre. As for empiricism and liberalism, I have one word for you: utilitarianism.