Monday, August 09, 1999

A new study says that the dramatic decrease in crime is due to the legalization of abortion in the 1970s, by ridding the world of a lot of unwanted children. It seems questionable, but boy will it be fun to watch the fireworks.

Yeltsin has fired yet another prime minister. I think the talk I’ve heard about it so far may be wrong-headed. Putin’s career over the last few years has been in putting down separatism, and Dagestan does look like going the way of Chechnya. Ironically, the appointment can also be interpreted as a move towards tribalism within the Kremlin, as Yeltsin attempts to use Petersburg as a regional power-base against the center of power around the mayor of Moscow, who increasingly looks like winning next year’s presidential elections. I think it will fail, but it will ensure that if the mayor whose name I can’t spell without looking it up wins, then the resulting administration will look even more like a Greater Muscovy with less and less legitimacy more than a hundred miles from downtown Moscow.

I keep seeing references to this poll that says 3/4 of the people think there have been worse scandals since Watergate, but I have to wonder which ones they mean. You could maybe make a case for Iran-Contra, but somehow I don’t think that’s what they mean. Nixon’s role in history looks better because Nixon so degraded the office of the presidency (although not with semen stains, which you can probably get out with a little club soda) and increased public cynicism, that Nixon himself doesn’t look so bad. If you follow.

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