WHEN THERE'S NO ONE LEFT TO SWIFTBOAT.Piercementioned this last week, but it deserves all the attention it can get. Kevin Tillman, U.S. Army Ranger and brother of fallen American hero Pat Tillman, joins the ranks of the shrill:
Somehow the more soldiers that die, the more legitimate the illegal invasion becomes.
Somehow American leadership, whose only credit is lying to its people and illegally invading a nation, has been allowed to steal the courage, virtue and honor of its soldiers on the ground.
DON'T TAKE IT FROM ME. My latest piece for New York Times Select (sorry, subscription req�d.) looks at the geography of the coming electoral storm of 2006. Some key graphs on the House side of the equation:
Blizzard is the most applicable term for the brewing cataclysm. Why? Because if Mother Nature sweeps a new Democratic majority -- or two -- into power in Washington, the disproportionate share of Republican defeats will occur in the Rust Belt states of the Northeast-Midwest corridor.
Coupled with isolated twisters in the Plains and a few Western earthquakes, what you have is the formula for a Republican natural disaster north of the Mason-Dixon Line�.
WAPO CONTINUES CAMPAIGN FOR GALLAUDET ADMINISTRATION. I have previously criticized the Washington Post's coverage of the Gallaudet protest movement against the university's new president as being slanted towards the administration and against the protestors. Well, case in point: today at 2pm they are doing a live chat with the new president, Jane K. Fernandes, on their website, with no countervailing voice from the other side of the issue, even though the clear majority of the Gallaudet community opposes Fernandes.
LANCET AND FACE VALIDITY. In a conversation yesterday, a friend told me that he just couldn't accept the Lancet numbers on Iraqi deaths because they seem too high. The study, he felt, had to have cooked the books in some way, even if the method wasn't immediately apparent. My friend's comments echoed those of Fred Kaplanand Michael O'Hanlon, sensible people who have chosen to reject the study for not terribly compelling reasons. It doesn't really matter, the argument goes, how many people have been killed in Iraq as long as we know that it's a lot and that it's getting worse, but it still can't be that many.
A NADIR OF LOGICAL ANALYSIS. Here's a strange column ("A Nadir of U.S. Power") by Sebastian Mallaby in which he suggests a connection between domestic absurdities like "the crazy tort system, which consumes more than a dollar in administrative and legal costs for every dollar it transfers to the victims of malpractice" and the inability of the Bush administration to make headway on tough foreign policy problems such as Iran, North Korea, and Darfur.
BROOKS'S BOBOS ABANDON GOP. Elsewhere in TimesSelectland, it must be said that David Brooks makes an insightful and valuable argument in his column on Sunday. Brooks, who has earned much-deserved mockery for his red and blue America shtick, in which he typically lambasts the coastal intelligentsia that he writes for and belongs to ("they can't tell wheat from corn in a field, or a soldier's rank by his insignia blah blah blah"), finally turns it on its head.
KNOCK IT OFF, FELLAS. Senator Barack Obama had better do a little more reading and a little less presidential-positioning before going on Meet the Press again. It's understandably tempting to make a name for oneself by mocking Democrats. It's also a surefire way to gain plaudits from everyone from Tim Russert to Sean Hannity. But yesterday, when Russert read a passage from Obama's new book in which the senator says he's a big believer in free-market capitalism who also worries about the efficiency of government programs, Russert asked him a very specific question Obama couldn't platitude-pander his way out of: So, which programs, Senator?
The Financial Times reports that the Financial Accounting Standards Board is about to recommend that the federal government adopt "accrual" accoounting to more accurately affect its budget situation. This would mean, for example, that the projected cost of Medicare benefits for a worker who is 25 today should be listed as a government obligation.