The Future That Might Have Been

Geography and Foreign Policy, I,” by Nicholar Spykman, The American Political Science Review, Vol 32 No 1, February 1938,

I’ve always loved past predictions of the future. I remember watching shorts on the Disney Channel in the early mornings, presenting the potential of America and California in the 1950s. An article in Wired years ago with the phrease “I Remember San-San” still strikes my heart, even if I can no longer find that article, or the book it reviewed.

So imagine my delight when I came across this passage from an article by Dr. Spykman from 1938

The same lack of systems of communications, coupled in the case of China with a complete absence of industrial technique, has so far kept both Brazil and China from effectively integrating their vast territories. There is little escape from the conclusion that size means potential strength, and that with the diffusion of Western technology great size plus time and a will to power will almost inevitably mean actual strength. Unless the dreams of European Confederation should materialize, it may well be that fifty years from now the qudarumvirate of world powers will be China, India, the United States, and the U.S.S.R.

While the Russians for a time secured an Outer Empire, both that and the Russian Middle Empire have sinced faded away, while the Inner Empire dies. Still…

  • An emphasis on connectivity
  • A combination of old (US, European) and new (Indian, Chinese, Brazillian?) powers
  • A focus on spreading technology

That was (and is) a future worth creating.

Update: Chirol goes back even further in time to the era of Prime Minister George W. Gladstone:

Remember the rights of the savage, as we call him. Remember that the happiness of his humble home, remember that the sanctity of life in the hill villages of Afghanistan among the winter snows, are as sacred in the eye of Almighty God as are your own. (Loud cheers). Remember that He who has united you together as human beings in the same flesh and blood, has bound you by the law of mutual love, that that mutual love is not limited by the shores of this island, is not limited by the boundaries of Christian civilisation, that it passes over the whole surface of the earth, and embraces the meanest along with the greatest in its wide scope

Maureen Mahoney for SCOTUS Justice?

Maureen E. Mahoney,” Lathan & Watkins LLP,

Maureen Mahoney,” Wikipedia, last updated 27 October 2005,

Mahoney,” by Jessica Gavora, The Corner, 27 October 2005,

Maureen Mahoney is an eloquent critic of Title IX, beyond the scope of her duties

Was Maureen Mahoney merely loyally representing her client (Brown University, whose case against sex quotas she appealed to the in 1997) when she went on the record with me opposing sex quotas in 2000? Perhaps. But why would she take the time to talk to me — a writer she never heard of — if she didn’t believe what she was saying? The Cohen v Brown case was long over. The Supreme Court had refused to hear it. So why didn’t she just tell me she was busy? And who opposes sex quotas but favors racial quotas? Who does that?

When I talked to her, one of the many great points Maureen made was that schools should be allowed to determine how many female and male athletes they sponsor based on interest in athletics (not quotas) — just like they determine how many single sex dorms they have based on interest in housing. So where are all the Title IX lawsuits clamoring for “gender equity” in campus housing, I asked? Here’s what Maureen told me in 2000:

There is a normative judgement going on here that underlies this whole thing. Some people have gotten together and decided that we think men and women should be equally interested in sports and therefore participation has to be fifty-fifty. But when you look at the housing situation you don’t see universities saying, “We think men and women should be equally interested in living in campus dorms.” What’s different here is women have decided that men and women should be equally interested in varsity athletics. But as a normative matter, why should we think that? Why should we prefer that women play soccer as opposed to live in a dorm or dance ballet?

Former Deputy Solicitor General Maureen Mahoney

Why does this matter? Well, some biographical information from the Wikipedia:

Maureen Mahoney (born 1955) is an appellate lawyer at the law firm of Latham & Watkins LLP in Washington, DC who has argued cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. She served as deputy solicitor general in the George H. W. Bush administration, where she was a colleague of Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts.

Mahoney clerked for Justice William Rehnquist when he was an associate justice on the Supreme Court. She also clerked for Judge Robert Sprecher of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

With ‘ recently withdrawing her Supreme Court nomination, Ms. Mahoney is being mentioned as a potential nominee to the Supreme Court.

From her corporate page:

Ms. Mahoney has handled a broad range of constitutional and appellate litigation in the Supreme Court and other courts throughout the country, representing clients as varied as the United States House of Representatives, Union Pacific Railroad Company and the Government of Saudi Arabia. She represented the University of Michigan before the Supreme Court and won the landmark case upholding the constitutionality of admissions programs that consider race as one of many factors in order to attain the educational benefits of a diverse student body. The Legal Times reported that this ruling was a “personal win” for Ms. Mahoney and called her “a skilled appellate advocate, unruffled and poised.” The Daily Journal awarded Ms. Mahoney the “Best Oral Argument” in the individual category accolade for that Supreme Court term and went on to say that she “withstood withering questioning from Justice Antonin Scalia while stressing the points relied upon by O’Connor in her opinion for the 5-4 court.” Most recently, she successfully argued her thirteenth case in the Supreme Court on behalf of Arthur Andersen in a challenge to the firm’s criminal conviction. The Legal Times described the argument in Andersen as “one of the term’s best.”

Ms. Mahoney argued her first case before the Supreme Court in 1988, when the Court specially selected her to argue a case. She won the case in a 5-4 decision, and the American Lawyer reported that “her presentation was so well-schooled, poised, and disciplined that, according to one justice, the justices passed notes among themselves during the argument praising Mahoney and asking questions about her background.” In 1993, Ms. Mahoney successfully defended a highly publicized challenge to US immigration policies. The American Lawyer reported that Ms. Mahoney used “forensic magic” in the argument, and David Broder’s Washington Post column called her argument “superb.” She also represented the House of Representatives in its successful Supreme Court challenge to the Commerce Department’s plans for the use of sampling in the 2000 census.

She was a leading candidate in July… will October be General Mahoney’s lucky month?

Map of Turkic Alphabets

Written Turkic,” by Curzon, Coming Anarchy, 26 October 2005,

Curzon from ComingAnarchy presents a beautiful map on the three-way split in how Turkic languages are written

Latin in the West, Cyrillic in the Center, Arabic in the East

Local expert Nathan gives his own view

And not just Cyrillic, but very different Cyrillic alphabets. I can kind of get written Kyrgyz and Kazakh, but I’m not entirely sure what sounds the vowels make.

On the map, I’d at least put Uzbekistan as a mix of blue and green. Even when I was there, Latin signs were fairly common and like I said, some kids couldn’t read Cyrillic.

Dari’s written in Arabic script. Tajik, however, is written in Cyrillic (but I think they’re supposed to be switching to Latin).

Beautiful cartography. Check it out

Harriet Miers Withdrawn, Krauthammer Vindicated, The "Ha Ha" Guy Rejoices, Was Miers an Abortionist, Tom Barnett Thanked

Miers Withdraws Nomination to Supreme Court,” Associated Press, 27 October 2005,,2933,173665,00.html
(from Catholicgauze).

, that unqualified candidate who threw the White House into disarray, has been withdrawn!

Harriet Miers withdrew her nomination to be a Supreme Court justice Thursday in the face of stiff opposition and mounting criticism about her qualifications.

It gets better: Bush used the Krauthammer Option (as described by Professor Bainbridge)

Bush said he reluctantly accepted her decision to withdraw, after weeks of insisting that he did not want her to step down. He blamed her withdrawal on calls in the Senate for the release of internal White House documents that the administration has insisted were protected by executive privilege.

“It is clear that senators would not be satisfied until they gained access to internal documents concerning advice provided during her tenure at the White House — disclosures that would undermine a president’s ability to receive candid counsel,” Bush said. “Harriet Miers’ decision demonstrates her deep respect for this essential aspect of the constitutional separation of powers — and confirms my deep respect and admiration for her.”

Even the Ha Ha Guy is happy:


Update: Her possibly pro-abortion views did her in:

The Washington Post reported Wednesday that Ms. Miers, in a 1993 speech in Dallas, spoke approvingly about a trend toward “self-determination” in resolving debates about law and religion, including those involving abortion rights and religion in public schools and public places.

“The ongoing debate continues surrounding the attempt to once again criminalize abortions or to once and for all guarantee the freedom of the individual woman’s right to decide for herself whether she will have an abortion,” Ms. Miers said, according to a copy of the speech. “Questions about what can be taught or done in public places or public schools are presented frequently to the courts.”

Concerned Women for America, a social conservative group that had been on the sidelines of the Miers nomination, reacted to the news of the speech by joining a coalition of conservative groups calling for her withdrawal.

Also, I want to thank for warning conservatives off Miers:

This could get really ugly, but I am loathe to wish for something better, because I feel that, in Miers’ defeat, we’ll set the stage for a truly right-wing justice in her place. In my mind, centrists and Dems the country over were lucky to see O’Connor and Rhenquist so “moderately” replaced. Roberts will be a good herder of cats, I believe, and Miers was unlikely to do much harm [suc], being an intellectual lightweight.

If Miers goes down, and I now believe it is entirely possible (when the Wills and the Kristols abandon you and the Left is gearing up, you’re in real trouble), we may all end up being happy with Roberts’ tendency to rule as a real centrist (which I believe he will), because what we end up with post-Miers may be fairly hardcore.

Update 2: The blogosphere responds:

Outside the Beltway corrects me: it was the Krauthammer-Morrissey option.

My girl Michelle Malkin is relieved. Blogs for Bush drops Miers, keeps Bush. Grinding Gears gives just the facts. TMH’s Bacon Bits does the same. Musing Minds tells it like it is, and looks at other blogs. Wingbang notes that Daily Kos is unhappy

The Wingnuts would not even wait for the confirmation process to unfold. The straw the broke the camel’s back was, wthout a doubt, the disclosure of Miers’ 1993 speech which may have signalled that Miers would uphold Roe. Miers wrote:

Purple States agrees, by the way. The Aggressive Conservative wonders whose next. Oblogotary Anecdotes demands “President Bush must heal the divide this nomination has created among the conservative base. He must name a clear cut conservative. No stealth nominees. If it means war with the Democrats then so be it.” The Consortium prepares for war. Going to the Mat just expects experience. ryanVOX calls this “a perfect opportunity.” GOP and the City blames Miers involvement in an underground rap group. bRight & Early just quotes Althouse.

Harriet Miers is sad. The Heretik ponders supernatural justice. Mark in Mexico talks ouija boards. WMD presents a nice bibliography. Ditto CatHouse Chat. PoliBlog goes with the flow. Decision ’08 loves the ellipsis).

Publius Rendezvouz holds his peace.

Update 3 (28 October 2005): Brendan of I Hate Linux reports this horrifying thought from The Daily Show

the loyalties Miers showed Bush yesterday, with her withdrawing her name and trying to protect the privacy of what happens behind close doors there… is surly the kind of loyalty to be rewarded with perhaps… a supreme court nomination?

Biology + Politics @ UNL

Actually interesting:

Next Thursday (November 3) I will be giving a brown bag presentation in Oldfather 538 (at 11:30) to faculty, grad students, and other interested parties.

TITLE: Biology and the Future of Political Science ABSTRACT: Evolutionary and biological principles increasingly are being applied in the social sciences, particularly economics and psychology. Political science has been lagging behind but even this situation is changing rapidly. I [Dr. John Hibbing] will describe these principles and explain how I think they can inform our theoretical and empirical work. I will also describe the role I believe this movement could play in our discipline and in our department. Then, in the second half of the talk I will provide an example of empirical work I have done in this area–specifically, the extent to which political attitudes and social behaviors are influenced by genetics. In the process, I hope to assist skeptics in understanding how genes (sequences of nucleotides in our DNA) could filter through to such seemingly cerebral concepts as social behavior and political attitudes.

Update: Some of Dr. Hibbing’s findings (with my commentary!) are online.