Archive

  • THE NERD PATROL...

    THE NERD PATROL GETS RICH. This isn't necessarily surprising, but it's nice nonetheless. A recent study analyzing government funding for scientific research found higher returns than previously thought, with grateful scientists filing patents and founding start-ups at a surprisingly rapid clip. That's instructive, as the primary driver of this bit of economic growth is the National Institute of Heath, which has seen its funding stagnate during the Bush era, in stark contrast to the 250 percent increase of the Clinton years. But funding for scientific research really shouldn't be a partisan issue. These grants don't interfere with the market so much as kickstart it: 70 percent of scientists filed their patents through their university's technology transfer office (the arm that commercializes university research). The rest went the entrepreneurial route, resulting in a full quarter of scientists who've received patents reporting that they've founded businesses. The taxpayer dollars fund...
  • THE BOMBTHROWERS' LEARNING...

    THE BOMBTHROWERS' LEARNING CURVE. One more brief thing on Amy Sullivan 's piece . On the question of Gingrich -style bomb-throwing and oppositional PR tactics, Amy emphasizes the degree to which Democrats have improved in the last year without getting much credit for it. While I'm on record calling out the Democrats for some residual lameness on the ethics fight specifically, there's no question that this improvement is real, and is hardly ever remarked upon. Major scandal stories erupt without anyone crediting Democratic bomb-throwers for instigating them. The Dubai ports deal was a genuinely debilitating blow to Republicans; it was a story because Chuck Schumer decided to make a media stunt out of it. Nobody seems aware that he's responsible. Now, needless to say, as effective as the Democrats might get at this kind of stuff, they'll never hold a candle to the sweet , sweet scandal - mongering that TAP regularly deploys through its investigative pieces. (Recall that Joe Conason is...
  • THE BIG STORY:...

    THE BIG STORY: STILL WAITING TO BE TOLD. Before this point gets lost in the din of the latest leak disclosures, it needs to be said, as loudly as possible, that the big story has yet to be told, and in that regard, Murray Waas 's previous scoop about Karl Rove is even more important -- and more deserving of mainstream media attention -- in light of the new revelations. In that piece, Waas reported that a classified one-page summary of the now-notorious National Intelligence Estimate was given to Bush , which says that some intelligence officials had serious doubts about the claim that Saddam wanted aluminum tubes for nukes -- and that Bush was given this summary before repeating the tubes claim in his speech. Let's state this as clearly as we can: Wass says there is a piece of paper out there which constitutes hard evidence that Bush withheld critical info from the American public as he made the most critical decision a president can make -- the decision whether to go to war. Jaded DC...
  • JUST POSTED ON...

    JUST POSTED ON TAP: IF THEY HAD A HAMMER. Terence Samuel thinks the Democrats could stand to learn a thing or two from Tom DeLay . So now�s that moment, at the end of the fund-drive, where the hosts say you only have five more minutes to join. That�s not entirely true in our case, but still, please subscribe . This is the last you�ll hear about subscriptions for at least a few months. --The Editors
  • PODHORETZ FLOATS FLIMSY...

    PODHORETZ FLOATS FLIMSY RIGHT-WING PUSHBACK ON LEAK STORY -- AND PUNTS. The emerging right-wing spin about the leak revelations was perfectly captured in John Podhoretz 's column today in the New York Post . Since these arguments are certain to be aired again and again in coming days, they need to be debunked, and quickly. And it's remarkably easy to do. The Pod makes three points, all of which are soon to be chanted in unison by countless winger commentators. He says : 1) The leak wasn't really a leak because it was authorized by the president, and a "leak" is the "unauthorized release of government information." This one's easy to knock down. First, a leak doesn't suddenly become a non-leak because it was secretly "authorized" by a higher-up. Plenty of info is leaked with tacit authorization from above, and we all agree to call that "leaking." This info certainly was leaked, in the sense that it was passed on confidentially by Libby to a reporter who wasn't supposed to reveal the...
  • THE IMPORTANT QUESTIONS....

    THE IMPORTANT QUESTIONS. If you ask me, the real problem with the Anna Nicole Smith nipple cover is that it doesn't show enough skin. If you look at Eugene Delacroix 's original, Liberty Leading the People , the entire right breast is exposed along with a considerable portion of the left. --Matthew Yglesias
  • A FEATURE, NOT...

    A FEATURE, NOT A BUG. Michael Tanner , Cato's health policy director, is not happy (PDF) about the Massachusetts plan: Individual mandates cross an important practical and philosophical line: once we accept the principle that it is the government�s responsibility to ensure that every American has health insurance, we guarantee even more government involvement with and control over large portions of our health care system. Compulsory, government-defined insurance opens the door to even more widespread regulation of the health care industry and political interference in personal health care decisions. The result will be a slow but steady spiral downward toward a government-run national health care system. Yahoo! --Ezra Klein
  • DEMOCRATIC "DISARRAY" --...

    DEMOCRATIC "DISARRAY" -- COMPARED TO WHAT? I'll join with others in strongly recommending Amy Sullivan 's bracingly counter-intuitive argument that the Democrats don't actually suck. Amy is very right here. Much of her focus is on the mainstream media narratives that continue to portray Democrats as invariably weak, divided, and feckless. But MSM cluelessness is an old story -- what's frankly more troubling and frustrating is the unyielding scorn and hostility that Democratic activists and netroots folks heap on the Democratic congressional leadership. Take the question of caucus discipline. The lack of comparative context underlying liberal critics' incessant carping on this front is glaring -- compared to both recent and much more longstanding historical precedent, the current Democratic opposition has not only been disciplined and unified, but effective . Improvements can always be made, but it's simple ignorance to portray the state of the congressional caucuses under Harry Reid...
  • CHANGES AT THE...

    CHANGES AT THE NEW REPUBLIC. Can I just say, as a twenty-something male, that I'm quite pleased with TNR 's transformation under the leadership of Frank Foer ? Last week, not only did I have a piece in the magazine, but the cover featured an Anna Nicole Smith nipple slip. This week, we get a stylized Paris Hilton look alike. Counterintuitive wonkery never looked so good. Except at The American Prospect , of course, which you should subscribe to lest you miss our upcoming "Men Of The Economic Left" cheesecake calendar. I hear we're going to make Fast Leon don a thong... --Ezra Klein
  • DING-DONG, THE BILL...

    DING-DONG, THE BILL IS DEAD . Looks like the immigration "compromise" is dead in the water. Good. Democrats and a handful of Republicans blocked the GOP's efforts to amend the legislation into an unrecognizable mess by a 60-38 vote, and now the whole thing's off the table. Just more evidence for Amy Sullivan 's contention that the post-2004 Democratic minority is an effective opposition force that has seen far more victories than defeats. Standing firm against an already mediocre bill that James Sensenbrenner would've made reprehensible during the House-Senate conference may not seem like a major triumph, but four years ago, Democratic unity would have rapidly collapsed and the GOP would have rammed through whatever dystopic enforcement scheme their most nativist members could dream up. This week, Democrats blocked that attempt, and the country will be better for it. --Ezra Klein

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