Archive

  • MY NEW ANALYTICAL...

    MY NEW ANALYTICAL TECHNIQUE IS UNSTOPPABLE. Via Atrios , Laura Bush took to the teevee yesterday to offer this glittering insight on the Iraq War: Many parts of Iraq are stable now. But, uh, of course, what we see on television is the one bombing a day that discourages everyone. You know when Iraq was stable? When Saddam Hussein was running it. But of course all we heard from the administration were the discouraging things, like his tyranny and his imaginary weapons and his crimes from a decade ago. We never heard about what a uniter he was, how many schools he built, how many puppies he petted, all the electricity he delivered, all the suicide bombings he prevented. Thinking back, Laura must be pissed ! --Ezra Klein
  • THAT EXPLAINS IT....

    THAT EXPLAINS IT. Newsweek reports on the origins of the David Geffen flap and talks to MoDo about her interview: Dowd says she was the one who brought up questions about Bill Clinton's past as a campaign issue. Credit where due, after all. --Garance Franke-Ruta
  • JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: THE HALF-TRILLION DOLLAR SOLUTION.

    JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: THE HALF-TRILLION DOLLAR SOLUTION. Professor Bruce Ackerman and Congressman David Wu propose a way for Congress to force the president to bring his war to an end: place a fixed cap on his Iraq appropriations: "Fanaticism," George Santayana famously observed, "consists of redoubling your effort when you have forgotten your aim." There is nothing which sobers the mind more than a fixed budget. Even the administration concedes that Congress has the constitutional power to cut off funds. The challenge is to use this power creatively -- both protecting the troops and requiring the president to end his war on his watch. The key point is to establish the principle that President Bush is responsible for leading America out of the impasse he created. A budget cap will also create a framework encouraging Congress to focus on the big picture, rather than engage in constant criticism of particular strategic decisions. We have fixed our ceiling at a level which assures...
  • DSCC TARGETS FOR 2008.

    DSCC TARGETS FOR 2008. At the risk of beating a dead donkey, here�s part of a recent fund-raising email sent out by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee�s J.B. Poersch , listing the DSCC�s top Senate targets for 2008. Mind you, this isn�t me handicapping the races; these are the DSCC's targets: Democratic Pickup Opportunities In Colorado, where Republican Senator Wayne Allard is retiring, Democrats have a golden opportunity to capture a seat in a state that has been trending Democratic for years�But there are also many opportunities to defeat Republican incumbents�John Sununu (NH), Susan Collins (ME), Gordon Smith (OR), and Norm Coleman (MN) have all continued to carry water for George Bush against the will of their constituents.They are all vulnerable and the DSCC is working actively in each of those states to field competitive Democratic challengers... Where Republicans Will Attack �Republicans have already made it abundantly clear that they will try to defeat Democratic...
  • The NYT Wastes Ink on Children's Health Care Article

    The Times ran an article in today's paper reporting that governors want additional funding for the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) in order to meet their coverage targets. According to the article, CBO estimates that it would take another $13.4 billion over the years 2008-2013. I'm sure that this number is very informative to about 20 people reading the NYT. Is $13.4 billion over five years a lot of money? Almost no one except budget wonks have any idea. Maybe the NYT could have written that it would cost about 0.1 percent of projected spending over this five year period ,or about $9 per person per year. Alternatively, the NYT could have told readers that the annual cost is a bit less than the cost of 2 weeks of the Iraq war. Or, it could have told readers that the annual cost was equal to about 10 percent of excess profits earned by the pharmaceutical industry because Congress prohibited Medicare from negotiating prices when it designed the new prescription drug...
  • POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: EXECUTIVE OUTCOMES.

    POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: EXECUTIVE OUTCOMES. What's a president to do when he faces a hostile Congress? As Genevieve Smith reports , he pushes key elements of his agenda more and more through executive orders and regulatory edicts: In fact, such efforts may already be underway. In January, the White House released an executive order updating guidelines for federal regulatory agencies. The new executive order increases the administration's hold on the rulemaking process by requiring a political appointee within each agency to approve all new regulations and White House review of agency guidance documents. Guidance, in Washington speak, is an informal interpretation or clarification of existing policy -- including suggestions for best practices and technical descriptions -- that tells businesses how the agency plans to enforce the regulation. In tandem with the executive order, the White House's Office of Management and Budget issued a memorandum to agencies offering new best practices for...
  • LET IT BREED

    LET IT BREED . Ben , Mark and Ezra have missed an important point. David Brooks is annoyed with selfish, liberal, urban hipster-parents because if procreating becomes cool, the trend will eventually take the wind out of his " new red-diaper babies " theory. After all, hipster babies grow into kindergarten scenesters (see Cobrasnake photos below) and, eventually, adult urban liberals. Though Brooks shouldn't despair just yet. If the looks on this kid's face are any indication, it's likely that hipster spawn are at high risk for rebelling -- and becoming born-again "values voters". -- Ann Friedman
  • HOLY SON OF JESUS.

    HOLY SON OF JESUS. Oscar award-winning director James Cameron is working on a new documentary that focuses on the tomb of the alleged son of Jesus and Mary Magdalene. No doubt that Christians around the world will be up in arms about it. The subject of debate is located near Jerusalem. More religious tension in the Middle East is surely exactly what we need. -- Kay Steiger
  • RE: BROOKS. ...

    RE: BROOKS. But Mark , that's David Brooks ' whole schtick! He hints at progressivism so he can criticize it, proclaims his BoBo-ness so he can mock it, plays up his youth so he can deride the "counterculture." It is, of course, pure rhetorical affectation. Does anyone think David Brooks' has spent enough time smearing fluids on Wall Street Journal archives to proclaim Dash Snow's counterculture a doppelganger of some other underground moment? But this is his approach, time and again. By adopting a tone of bemused sympathy for whatever he's marginalizing, Brooks' criticisms appear superficially loving, and thus all the more credible. But you shouldn't confuse what Brooks' does with writing about culture. He's writing about liberals -- or at least a particular stereotype of liberals -- and calling it culture, because doing so allows him to evade the political filters that would easily sift through his insinuations and leave only a couple cute neologisms and some adjectives. In this...
  • SMALL WORLD DEPT....

    SMALL WORLD DEPT. New York newspapers are abuzz today with the revelation that the Rev. Al Sharpton 's great-grandfather, Coleman Sharpton Snr. , was a slave owned by Sen. Strom Thurmond 's relative Julia Ann Thurmond , with whom the late senator shared a great-great-grandfather. After the initial shock of the news -- the story was pushed forward by The New York Daily News and the sleuthing of Ancestry.com -- Sharpton decided to push further and is calling for DNA tests to see if he's related to the Thurmonds. At first glance, it seems a little unlikely, in that Sharpton's ancestor who was owned by the female Thurmond relative was male. Generally speaking, it was white masters who imposed themselves sexually on female black slaves, not white mistresses. Still, it's possible that Sharpton is related to the white, slave-owning Sharpton family from which he received his surname, or that a female partner of Coleman Sharpton was raped or sexually coerced by a male Thurmond relative. (Strom...

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