The Duck of Minerva

The Duck Quacks at Twilight

Recommendations for Friday

December 16, 2005

So many things going on in the world right now that I’d like to comment on, but can only link to. On top of grading and writing it looks like my sister-in-law could be having her first child any minute now. With that in mind I thought I would recommend some reading this morning. Enjoy.

Pelosi Hails Democrats’ Diverse War Stances: Democratic House leader Pelosi is ethused by the lack of a coherent position on an Iraq War exit strategy by Democrats, stating that while they are preparing a comprehensive agenda platform for the 2006 midterm elections it will not include an exit strategy for Iraq. My own personal view–this is dumb. While letting a thousand flowers bloom may be normatively appealing its politically inept. One of the greatest political weaknesses of the Democrats in recent years has been their lack of a coherent, positive message (not positive in the sense of “look at the brightside” but positive in terms of “we have a coherent, alternative plan to the one we have been criticizing”). Yes, they are the oppossition party, but that does not mean all they can do is opposse President Bush’s policies without offering one of their own. If with the public infuriated at the President the Democrats need to take a stance on this issue. The public is allowed to say they simply oppose the President’s policies. If you want them to vote you to govern you better have a plan. Why can’t they get this?

Report: Bush Had More Prewar Intelligence Than Congress: A report released yesterday by the Congressional Research Service concluded that President Bush did have decidedly different pre-war intelligence than Congress (not that we didn’t know this). The report did not note specific articles of intelligence that were witheld, but rather noted that the President does have a systemic advantage when it comes to intelligence access. Some money quotes:

Limitations on Congressional Access to Certain National Intelligence

By virtue of his constitutional role as commander-and-in-chief and head of the executive branch, the President has access to all national intelligence collected, analyzed and produced by the Intelligence Community. The President’s position also affords him the authority – which, at certain times, has been aggressively asserted – to restrict the flow of intelligence information to Congress and its two intelligence committees, which are charged with providing legislative oversight of the Intelligence Community. As a result, the President, and a small number of presidentially-designated Cabinet-level officials, including the Vice President – in contrast to Members of Congress – have access to a far greater overall volume of intelligence and to more sensitive intelligence information, including information regarding intelligence sources and methods.

You can read the entire report here (via Rodger).

A Short Explanation of Sharia: Chirol over at Coming Anarchy has a nice, short post discussing the structure of Sharia–e.g. its component parts, their order of authority, etc. Go check it out.

The 2005 Koufax Awards — Nominations are Open: Finally, nominations are open for the Koufax Awards. The Koufax Awards are, like their Dogder lefty’s namesake, intended to honor the best blogs and bloggers on the left. Now, I am not sure whether or not I would characterize the Duck or anyone member as “on the left” (oh how I hate such labels to begin with–couldn’t label myself if I tried although I am sure our readers have a few ideas), however I think collectively we are pretty much center, center-left. So, if you are so inclined, stop by and nominate the Duck, individual members, and individual posts you think worthy of recognition.

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Petti is Associate Director of Insights and Analytics at Alexion . Previously, he served as Lead Data Scientist in the Decision Sciences group at Maritz Motivation and a Global Data Strategist and Subject Matter Expert for Gallup.