Friday reading list

The last two posts from The Decembrist have both been really worth reading. The latest, "Too Many Evenings" is excellent. They're partially about tying together disparate progressive groups, like environmentalists, anti-war advocates, pro-choice movement members, and labor unions, under a common ideology. One reaction to this might be: most of the anti-war people I know are pro-choice, pro-labor, environmentalists. But there are a lot of people who are very committed to one of those issues and don't really care about the others. The environmental movement is in some ways a paradigm of this.

The post is also about how to turn those specific groups into a more viable unified political movement, taking into account what Mark calls the "transactional" model of group membership. This model talks about how people no longer identify as deeply with a particular group, instead moving in, doing some work on it, and moving on. If more and more progressives looking for this model, structuring groups to take advantage of it will have obvious benefits.

If you found the tort reform post from yesterday interesting, there is a great conversation going on about it in comments at Washington Monthly. Kevin updated his original post in response to an e-mail I sent last night, and now smarter people in comments are explaining why I'm wrong. The comment thread has a shockingly high signal-to-noise ratio. See especially Sam Heldman's comments.

Also, see Yglesias on looking at other countries for some perspective on the problems in our own. To put it briefly, Russia is really screwed up.

Next. Dan Drezner, who I don't link to enough, on different responses to North Korea's nuclear weapons announcement yesterday. He thinks stepped up sanctions by Japan will be effective in bringing North Korea back to negotiations. Also, does China like having a mad-man running a nearby country who makes trouble so as to distract world attention from the Chinese government's own problems? Because if China were to drastically cut their economic ties with North Korea, they could get them to do most anything. I'm sure there's more to it than that though.

Finally, Alex Tabarrok on the market for restaurant reservations.