WEEPIN' JOE STILL AT IT. "The point I was trying to make was about how we disagree. My concern was, and remains, that if opponents or supporters of the war go beyond disagreeing to exploiting the war for partisan political purposes, much like Republicans did to Max Cleland on homeland security, we could lose more than an election. We could put our mission in Iraq, the lives of thousands of American soldiers carrying it out, and our national security at risk. That is what I care about."
WHAT ALCOHOL DOES. Trying to settle the great Mel Gibson debate, The New York Timesspoke with addiction specialists and alcohol experts to see whether Gibson's anti-Semitic spray could've been the tequila doing voice-over. The answer? Not likely. Contrary to certain recent press releases, alcohol does not, in fact, invent new parts of your brain or replace old opinions with shinier, fresher ones. Instead, its primary effect is to suppress activity in the prefrontal cortex, the portion of your brain which acts as superego, considering whether your acts are appropriate to the moment and cultural context.
AN OUNCE OF PREVENTION.Noam Scheiberresponded late last week to my contention that Hezbollah posed no "mortal danger" to Israel by, in essence, agreeing with me. According to Scheiber (and I tend to agree), the Israeli government wasn't reacting to a perceived current or imminent danger but, rather, saw Hezbollah's cross-border raid as offering a reasonable casus belli for launching a preventive war aimed at curbing a perceived future threat from what was seen as Hezbollah's growing power. The difference is that I don't think this is a good idea at all.
In case you thought that the United States had a monopoly on bad economic reporting, the Financial Times is out to prove you wrong. In a column this morning, Lex sought to show that an increase in the value of the Renminbi will not necessarily lead to a decline in the U.S. trade deficit with China. The evidence is a chart showing that the large rise in the euro against the dollar since 2001 has actually been associated with an increase in the U.S. trade deficit with Europe.
My earlier comments about the how projections of rising health care costs are driving the horror stories about the long-term deficits prompted a number of comments. I will make a few quick points by way of response.
As has been widely reported, the July job numbers came in somewhat weaker than expected, with job growth of just 113,000. This is the fourth consecutive month in which job growth has hovered near 100,000.
However, the actual picture may be somewhat worse than the official data show. The reason is that the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) may be imputing too many jobs into the survey for new firms that are not included in their sample.
Phase II. As General Peter Pace and General John Abizaid told a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing Thursday that Iraq was on the verge of civil war, the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee Pat Roberts was complaining to The New York Times that the White House was obstructing the declassification of two new sections of his committee�s long awaited Phase II inquiry into the administration�s use of pre-war intelligence.
JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: THE ANTI-REGULATOR. This week, the president announced his nomination of the Mercatus Institute's Susan Dudley as federal regulatory czar. In an administration packed with fox-guarding-henhouse scenarios, this is one the most extreme -- and the president just may install her, John Bolton-style, through a recess appointment.* Genevieve Smith brings us the gory details.
SOCIALLY LIBERAL, FISCALLY CONSERVATIVE. I find Jonah's derision of the socially liberal, fiscally conservative viewpoint baffling. Not because the perspective isn't generally confused -- it is, for reasons I'll go into in a moment -- but his reasoning is so self-evidently addled. So as far as I can tell, he's relying on an old Derbyshirecolumn explaining that socially liberal policies necessitate fiscal liberalism because, for instance, liberalizing views towards homosexuality leads to AIDS, which leads to money spent on treatment. Which makes sense.
THE CASE FOR RECEIPTS. It's obvious now that Mountaineer Mike has never been a daily sportswriter, particularly one sentenced to six weeks at spring training in a place like Winter Haven, the least-charming place in Florida, the Designer Mudflap Capital Of The Known Universe, the heartbeat of that part of the Sunshine State we like to call Baja Mississippi. Anyway, let me make it quite clear -- you save receipts for EVERYTHING. Sportswriter pals of mine have been known to submit -- and be reimbursed for -- ATM fees. If you don't, then They -- the big They, the beancounting bastards who run our lives -- will save the company money, and no self-respecting journalist ought to be in the business of saving the company money.