Recommended Reading (2010-04-25) – SUNDAY Edition

Close up looking down onto Chrysler Building, New York.

– Today is ANZAC Day! A quote from Ataturk in its honor, courtesy of Abu Muqawama:

Heroes who shed their blood and lost their lives! You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and Mehmets to us where they lie side by side here in this country of ours. You, the mothers, who sent their sons from far away countries wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well.

– In case you missed it, this past week the USAF launched the unmanned X37 ‘space plane‘. According to the Air Force’s Deputy Undersecretary for Space Programs, DoD has no idea “when it’s coming back for sure.”

Britain still owes Iran something like £400 million for 1,500 Chieftain tanks that it never delivered to the Shah thirty years ago. Because, of course, the Shah wasn’t around by the time the Ministry of Defence got around to it.

– It just sucks to be Mexico City. And often in this article when they say flooded with ‘water’, what they mean by water is ‘raw sewage’ (of course, it’s sucked to be Mexico City – or Mexico at all, for that matter – for quite some time now).

– ArmsControlWonk surveys the now-raised Cheonan and compares the effect of a modern North Korean torpedo (i.e. splitting the ship in half) with that of the Cole bombing and ‘classical’ torpedo effects.

-Marc Ambinder asks the question we’ve been asking ourselves for a while: has the entire conservative movement gone mad?

Mainstream conservative voices are embracing theories that are, to use Julian Sanchez’s phrase, “untethered” to the real world.

Can anyone deny that the most trenchant and effective criticism of President Obama today comes not from the right but from the left? Rachel Maddow’s grilling of administration economic officials. Keith Olbermann’s hectoring of Democratic leaders on the public option. Glenn Greenwald’s criticisms of Elena Kagan. Ezra Klein and Jonathan Cohn’s keepin’-them-honest perspectives on health care. The civil libertarian left on detainees and Gitmo. The Huffington Post on derivatives.
I want to find Republicans to take seriously, but it is hard. Not because they don’t exist — serious Republicans — but because, as Sanchez and others seem to recognize, they are marginalized, even self-marginalizing, and the base itself seems to have developed a notion that bromides are equivalent to policy-thinking, and that therapy is a substitute for thinking.

– Speaking of politics ungrounded in reality, Ron Rosenbaum analyzes the Tea Party’s twisted version of history, and in reminding me just how low political discourse in the United States has sunk, almost makes me cry.

– If Cecil Rhodes’ Africa-bestraddling railroad ever gets built, it will be constructed by the new imperial kid on the block: China.

– Stephen Hawking says that programs like SETI – or any attempt to contact alien life – is just asking for trouble:

If aliens visit us, the outcome would be much as when Columbus landed in America, which didn’t turn out well for the Native Americans.

Executive note: I’m going to make the Sunday edition the new sole edition of link collections (and starting next weekend will drop the ‘SUNDAY Edition’). I just don’t have the time during the week. But now on Sundays, expect a great group of articles from (mostly) the past week, with no particular theme other than that they’re all worth reading. I hope you’re looking forward to it.