Note to Readers: Changes to the Blog

I have now been posting fairly regularly on this blog since late February and have made a total of 272 posts. It has been fruitful, and hope it will remain so. But I am going to change gears for a bit. A few months back I intentionally started writing less about the 2008 presidential election, as it seemed I was just adding to what is already sheer overkill on the topic. And this overkill, I think, knocks other far more pressing issues out of the national discussion.

And so I stopped writing about 2008 a lot. And now, I want to narrow the focus even more.

I have given myself pretty wide latitude about what subjects to approach on this space. Most of the time I write about politics and the media. To give you an idea, the tags I have used the most often are: media (63), 2008 (43), newspapers (23) health care (20), Iraq War (33), Iraq (23), Democrats (14), books (13) the Middle East (10) , media ownership (10), opinion journals (10). neoliberalims (7) the netroots (6). I have also been reproducing recent articles I have written about national politics (18) -- though I have not been reproducing the local news articles I write as they do not seem to fit the obvious political theme of this web site.

I have decided to narrow the focus of this blog to two major issues that I care most about: the media, and international affairs. And, naturally, the media's coverage of international affairs.

This still gives me wide latitude. Focusing on the media can mean: ownership, the newspaper industry, blogs, opinion magazines, and of course, analysis of coverage. So in theory, I will still be able to write about most things. Likewise, trade and global warming are directly related to foreign relations (for example, global warming is has caused a storm of diplomatic posturing over the Northwest passage and other Arctic areas).

This will result in a changed format as well. My link at this point are mostly to places I contribute to: the Globe, the Nation, Campus Progress etc ... Soon I will put up links to media-related web sites, foreign policy web sites, and international newspapers. I am also changing the name of the blog. For now it is "Critical Leverage" which is a reference to a quote by Zigniew Brsezinski though it is subject to change and I welcome suggestions. Expect the appearance to change.

So why media and foreign policy? In terms of media, there is simply no more important issue -- period. How information is communicated effects every element of every issue, and moreover is absolutely vital to a free democratic society.

As for foreign affairs: I still have far more to learn about this issue, but it is literally the major focus of my time. When I wake up I no longer read US papers first, as I have been for years, and instead typically scan the online editions of Haaretz (the paper of record of Israel), the Daily Star of Lebanon, a slew of Iraqi papers, the Christian Science Monitor, Dar al-Hayet and so forth.

This was a transition that I didn't plan for; it just kind of happened. And I blame my friend and partner in research, Steve, who has instilled in me a huge passion for the world of geopolitics in recent months.

It is truly overwhelming to be living in the most powerful country in the history of the world at a time of such horror: nuclear weapons; wars in Afghanistan and and Iraq; a possible war with Iran; growing tensions between Syria and Israel, Lebanon and Israel; Iran and the US; the US and Russia; Venezuela and the US; China and the US; NATO and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization; Iran and Saudi Arabia; the Kurds in Iraq and Turkey; the isolation of Gaza; a possible Shiite revival in the Middle East; the destruction of Lebanon; civil war in Iraq; the domestic battles between secularism and Islam in Turkey; a growing backlash against neoliberalism; waning US power; the limits of neoconservatism becoming realized; the rise of radical Islam; the depletion of natural resources, like water and oil; starvation, war and genocide in Africa; growing anti-Americanism across the world; global warming and the threat of species extinction--and on and on and on.

When one follows these problems, it makes it difficult to get really passionate about Fred Thompson's primary strategy, or the efforts of the 11oth Congress. And I just feel my focus should be on global affairs while I sit here in the belly of the American Empire.