Today's Blogs

Elizabethan Politics

Bloggers consider Elizabeth Edwards’ verbal shots at Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama *, as well as the announcement that Clinton’s White House records won’t be available until after the 2008 election. They also react to John Tierney’s New York Times piece wondering if we’re all just living in a simulated world.

Elizabethan politics: ABC News reports that the Progressive’s August issue contains an interview with Elizabeth Edwards in which she sounds off once more against presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, criticizing positions they’ve taken on Iraq as well as their health-care proposals. Bloggers dissect the strategy behind the candor.

Democratic consultant Steve Benen at the Carpetbagger Report notices a pattern in Edwards’ public statements: “John Edwards’ campaign seemed to be utilizing Elizabeth Edwards as if she were his running mate—going after Edwards’ rivals in ways the candidate probably wouldn’t.” At the National Review Online’s Campaign Spot, Jim Geraghty explains Edwards’ outspokenness. “When John Edwards gives a speech, there’s little or no reaction,” he writes. “When Elizabeth Edwards jabs at her husband’s rivals, there’s a much bigger reaction, and one of two scenarios will occur: 1) They ignore her comments, and the criticism goes unanswered … or 2) they respond in kind, prompting John Edwards to tell the rival to stop picking on his wife who’s fighting cancer, painting the rival as a bully. It’s a win-win.”

Elizabeth Edwards’ comments bother righty blogger Little Miss Sunshine: “Elizabeth Edwards opens her mouth quite often, and yet, I learn little about her and the character of her husband, only that she is the mouthpiece of attacks on John Edwards’ behalf.” Gerardo Orlando at moderate North Coast Blog likes Elizabeth but thinks “her latest shots at Obama are a little silly.”

“[D]oes she think she’s helping her husband in his battle for the White House by sniping at Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama?” asks liberal blogger madamab at Oooh, nuance!, who also feels like Edwards is sending out his sick wife “to do his dirty work.” 

Read more reaction to Elizabeth Edwards’ comments.

The Chronicles of Hillary: Federal archivists at the Clinton library announced that 2 million pages of records from Hillary Clinton’s tenure as first lady will not be ready for public release until after the 2008 elections, disappointing many Clinton opponents. Conservatives pounce at the chance to suggest Clinton has something to hide.

“Hillary can’t have this both ways,” declares Ed Morrissey at BlogTalkRadio’s Heading Right. “If she wants to run on her record as First Lady, then let’s see the record and find out what exactly she did. She needs to open the files—all of the files—and allow voters to see her actions and how her experience would benefit her candidacy.”

Fellow righty Gary Vincent at Crooked Inc. writes, “It’s difficult to gauge what is in those copious documents stashed in the back of the Bill Clinton presidential library, currently being rummaged through by archive staff, but if all of the books released by former Bill Clinton aides are any indication … then Clinton might want those archivers to take their sweet, old time.”

At libertarian Classical Values, Eric urges: “Come on archivists! The Clinton White House archives don’t involve a musty old library full of crumbling tomes which eventually might be of interest to historians and scholars. This stuff is alive, unsettled, unsettling—and directly relevant to what promises to be one of the most controversial and protracted elections in history.”

Read more bloggers’ response to the archivists’ announcement.

God is a nerd: The New York Times’ John Tierney posits the probability, based on the work of Oxford philosopher Nick Bostrom, that humans are living in a virtual simulation created by supercomputers. Bloggers mull the possibility but aren’t wholly persuaded.

Tierney’s argument doesn’t sway the peer-review blog Knight Science Journalism Tracker.  The theory is “Plausible, yes. But c’mon—likely? No. A simulation is going to include photonic wisps from 12 billion light years away, detailing with each new telescopic generation whole vistas of limitlessly detailed galaxies, stars, planets, etc., just for some non-deity’s amusement? This piece is an amusement.” Sci-fi blog Magic City News admits it’s an “outlandish idea” but doesn’t doubt “the possibility that computers could create the exact simulation of everything I feel right now and what I’m doing and what I see.” 

Law professor Ann Althouse sounds a playful note: “So what does the Big Nerd want from us? And do we have any reason to care? We could try to understand the mind of the Big Nerd for the pure love of knowledge, or we could try to think of how He—you just know it’s a he—might punish or reward us. The economist Robin Hanson figures that we ought to try to be—not obedient and moral—but interesting, so we’ll get to continue in the next simulation … The Big Nerd God wants to be entertained.”

Read more on Tierney’s article.

Correction, Aug. 15, 2007: The article originally misspelled Barack Obama’s first name. (Return to the corrected sentence.)